2019 Session: ‘Stand your ground’ bill could make comeback

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A controversial gun law proposal that drew national attention could make a comeback at the state Capitol.

The “stand your ground” bill, Senate Bill 484, would allow a person to use deadly force in self defense and not be forced to retreat if they fear their life is in danger.

St. Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, made headlines across the country and world when she spoke against the legislation, arguing it would disproportionately affect African Americans. The bill’s sponsor, St. Sen Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, disagrees, saying it would help people in life threatening situations.

The proposal ultimately failed by one vote during that debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

On Thursday, members of the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America delivered petitions to the Senate minority leader with more than 2,000 signatures against the bill. 

“People take too many things for granted and don’t realize the difference that one person can make,” St. Sen. Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, told the group. “Together we are stronger and always better so thank you.”

The bill has been re-referred to committee, but there was talk in the Senate to try to extract it Thursday for consideration on the floor.

The Senate’s leader, St. Sen. Jim Hendren, R-President Pro Tempore, made a motion to expunge a vote that prohibited the chamber from extracting any bill until Monday, but it failed. 

Hendren said the Senate could hear motions to extract the “stand your ground” bill or others on Monday.

In the meantime, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he is hesitant to change current state law. 

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