With its poll numbers and financial support taking hits, the National Rifle Association has lately sent a message it might be amenable to modest gun safety legislation — along the lines of the “red flag” law being contemplated for introduction in Arkansas. Two angles: NRA credibility and blowback from the even nuttier gun nuts. Also: Beware “stand your ground.”

From an NPR report:


Lately, the NRA has relied heavily on videos to communicate with the public and its supporters, and video is how it announced its position on legislation to temporarily remove guns from people thought to pose a threat.

“We need to stop dangerous people before they act,” says Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “So Congress should provide funding to states to adopt risk protection orders.”

But …….

“The NRA has put out press releases about red flag laws calling them ‘Firearms Surrender Bills,’ which is completely inaccurate and incendiary rhetoric,” says Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety.

So if the NRA now supports such bills, it would represent a big change. But Watts is skeptical.

“I suspect this is an attempt by the NRA to look moderate, but the devil’s in the details,” Watts says. She says the test is whether the NRA will continue to work against state red flag bills.

The NRA wouldn’t give NPR an interview about its plans, but one of its representatives in Florida was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times last month saying the group would not support a version of red flag legislation there “until we see it has sufficient protections.”

And that appears to be the sticking point.

We’ll see soon enough (Gov. Asa Hutchinson, an NRA regular, has raised the “sufficient protections” concern in his remarks on the idea in Arkansas). Meanwhile, the hard-line nutters aren’t happy at even a hint of moderation from the NRA. I was alerted to this by Jan Morgan, gun range owner and former Republican candidate for governor. The mention of red flag laws set Yosemite Samantha off on a Facebook rant declaiming she won’t renew her NRA membership.


Regardless of what you call it, (Red Flag Law or Extreme Risk Protection Order), I have yet to see one single version of this law that does not violate the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendment Rights of law abiding American citizens.

I’m not liking the odds for this idea in Arkansas.

Of more immediate concern is dangerous gun nuttery — the proposed stand-your-ground law, an invitation to increased homicide rates. Dead men tell no tales after a summary execution justified to police as a response to a perceived threat.


Remember that you have a well-protected right of self-defense already in Arkansas. Then consider what “stand your ground” has done in Florida — a rise in gun killings that correlates with adoption of the law.

The new law—which was the first of its kind in the nation—dramatically expanded the conventional approach to self-defense, empowering individuals to use lethal force even when safe retreat from the situation is possible or when lesser, nonlethal force would suffice. Most notably, stand your ground eliminated an individual’s duty to retreat from a dangerous situation before resorting to lethal force; removed any legal incentive for an individual to try to de-escalate or escape an encounter; and shifted lethal force from a last resort option to a first move. The law went even further by explicitly immunizing people who invoke it from criminal prosecution and civil liability—in many cases, preventing individuals who killed another person and claimed self-defense from even being arrested or charged with a crime.

A team of researchers examined the homicide rate in Florida before and after stand your ground and, in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the enactment of this law was associated with a dramatic increase in both overall homicides and gun-related homicides in the state. After controlling for other factors and comparing the homicide rates with trends in other states, the researchers determined that the monthly gun murder rate in the state increased 31.6 percent after the law was enacted, while the monthly overall murder rate increased 24.4 percent.

Using this research, CAP Action calculated the number of individuals murdered with a gun in Florida who would not have been killed in this manner had stand your ground never been enacted and had previous trends continued. The analysis finds that, since 2006, the lives of approximately 4,200 individuals in Florida who were murdered with a gun may have been saved had this law not been enacted and that earlier trend continued.