LITTLE ROCK, Ark – In the last General Session State Senator Bob Ballinger brought up a ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill and lead to a lively debate, especially in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

State Senator Stephanie Flowers was passionate in her opposition to the bill, the clip even going viral as she said to co-chair of that committee State Senator Alan Clarke, “Are you going to shoot me?!”

Senator Ballinger has once again filed that bill. “We’ve had a little more time to sit down and discuss and digest it right? So some of the parties in law-enforcement they’ve had a chance to look at it and realize that it’s not substantially different than the 30 some odd jurisdictions that have liberty to retreat,” he said. 

Ballinger believes that the current make-up of the General Assembly will allow to pass through as well. 

Kate Fletcher, who is the Communications Director for the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group that encourages gun violence laws, says she doesn’t understand the need for a Stand Your Ground law in Arkansas. “It, frankly, encourages people to shoot first and ask questions later,” she said. 

She cites in the last General Session that Arkansas Sheriff’s Association came out against the bill. Fletcher adds that there are already provisions for self-defense in current law, “If, under current law, a person is able to reasonably protect themselves in any reasonably dangerous situation then why are we adding additional laws that would only create confusion?”

Senator Ballinger said that this law simply removes the ‘duty to retreat’ part of that self-defense.  He said it will not lead to more gun-related homicides, “The people started talking about it being a license to kill or people talk about you know how it’s going to increase violence well the statistics don’t show that.”

Fletcher counters that argument by saying there is statistical evidence that shows an increase, “In Florida for instance, when they implemented their stand your ground law, they saw a 32% increase in firearm homicide rates.”  She cites data from Everytown.org.

The debate also on what ‘reasonable belief’ on being in danger will undoubtedly come up during the Session.  Ballinger says the concept of ‘reasonable’ has plenty of case law in the state to be what he calls a common-sense application of the law, “It’s something that we’ve been dealing with in our self-defense law for a long time and frankly in common law it’s existed for ages.”

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