The Guardian takes a look at gun control in a way that turned up a couple of Little Rock angles.
The story is about the refusal of most Republicans in Congress to take up any gun safety legislation. The article notes that several Republican congressmen represent cities with higher murder rates than Chicago, often the poster child for those opposing gun control measures, given local laws there. They are highly rated by the NRA and most don’t like to even talk about the topic.
Little Rock is among the high-murder cities. But in seeking comments from Republican representatives of cities with high murder rates, U.S. Rep. French Hill, the Republican of Little Rock, was able to offer something he was doing about improving the quality of life in his hometown.
Congresssman French Hill represents Little Rock, Arkansas, which has a murder rate of 21.7 per 100,000 people in 2014. Hill introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give grants to historically black colleges and universities to run education programs to help formerly incarcerated Americans “successfully transition back into their communities”.
“If the program is successful it would curb the recidivism rate and lead to a reduction of all types of crime,” including violence, Hill’s spokesman, Michael Siegel, said.
Hill has also expressed support for “a comprehensive approach to mental health” as a way to address both gun suicide and mass shootings.
“If people get the mental health treatment they need, they’re not on the streets or in a jail cell,” Hill said in an interview with an Arkansas NPR affiliate last week.
The article notes the analysis of murder rates in large cities did not include some smaller cities with high murder rates, such as Pine Bluff, also represented by a Republican congressman and gun control opponent, Rep. Bruce Westerman.