LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday passed the bill known as “Stand Your Ground”.
There were 27 state senators who voted in favor of the bill, seven voting against and one abstaining.
Sen. Larry Teague (D- District 10) was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the bill. Sen. Jim Hendren (R- District 2) was the only Republican to vote against the bill. Ronald Caldwell (R- District 23) is the only Senator who did not vote.
Sen. Bob Ballinger (R- District 5) and St. Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R- District 69) sponsored the current bill, which was filed on December 23. The bill has been filed in previous legislative sessions, but failed.
During debate on the bill Tuesday, Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D- District 30) asked fellow legislators to think twice about making death easier. Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D- District 25) also spoke out against the bill, saying the bill would adversely impact the Black population.
Sen. Alan Clark (R- District 13) spoke in favor of the bill, citing statistics that crime in Florida is down, which is not all due to Stand Your Ground. According to statistics given by Clark, burglaries are down 48% in Florida.
Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-District 31) spoke against the bill, saying the three that spoke against the bill have something in common and feel dismissed. Elliott said cases are 11 times likely to be dismissed when the shooter is white and the victim is Black.
Sen. Greg Leding (D- District 4) spoke about how trained police have made the mistake of shooting and killing people with disabilities.
Sen. Clarke Tucker (D- District 32) said this law doesn’t change any firearm laws but makes it more lawful to kill someone.
Sen. Jason Rapert (R- District 35) supported the bill, saying he wants women to have the right to defend themselves and objects to the notion that voting for the bill is racist.
Hendren said the current law is sufficient for a person to defend themselves. Hendren said a person does not have to physically turn their back to assailants.
Sen. Trent Garner (R- District 27) spoke in favor of the bill. Garner recalled an encounter he had defending a friend by not using deadly force and was shot.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has not said whether he supports the legislation.
The bill will now go to the House Judiciary Committee.