LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Wednesday afternoon Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he would sign SB24, the Stand Your Ground bill, into law. 

It now becomes Act 250 of the 2021 Regular Session.

Governor Hutchinson echoing previous statements that Senator Bob Ballinger and Representative Aaron Pilkington made while testifying for the bill,

“There is nothing in the language of the bill that would lead to different outcomes in our criminal justice system.” Gov. Hutchinson said.

Governor Hutchinson said he was hesitant about this law being presented in the early stages but cited law enforcement’s support and the prosecutor’s neutrality as a reason for him changing his mind. 

He said he spoke with several minority groups on their opposition but said the law itself should not cause any problems, but his concern lied with Arkansans’ interpretation of the law, “But in terms of the reactions of the reaction of people of that legislation I am concerned. As to how they will interpret this, as to how they will interpret their use of firearms.”

He said to ease those concerns he wants to see the Hate Crimes Bill pass as a way to protect from people being targeted, “I am more convinced than ever that Arkansas must pass meaningful legislation to address crimes against citizens solely for who they are and what they believe.”

Arkansas becomes the last of its neighboring states to enact Stand Your Ground, but also said Arkansas would be among the last in the nation to enact potential hate crimes laws, “Whenever this Session is over with we can look back and say ‘Yes we passed Stand Your Ground legislation’ but we also passed very important legislation that will protect citizens of Arkansas from being targeted so that we can make sure all citizens feel safe.”