The homicide-encouragement bill known as stand your ground legislation is before the Senate Judiciary Committee today and likely will pass through like corn through a goose, with a similar result.


Opponents expect the bill, which removes a requirement to retreat before shooting in self-defense and allows shooting on perception of threat, to be amended to make it worse.

Sen. Bob Ballinger, a lead sponsor, could provide no example for Sen. Jim Hendren asking whether there’d been a case of wrongful prosecution of someone acting in self-defense. Ballinger said his mom had told him a story along those lines. Specifics? None. Hendren also questioned Ballinger on whether there might be a racial difference in how the laws are enforced elsewhere and didn’t reduce crime. Ballinger essentially said you could find research to prove whatever side you might be on.


Prosecutors, who’ve opposed this legislation in the past, have been scared off the issue this year and didn’t testify. Hendren attempted to get a prosecutor to say whether they could cite a case of prosecution of someone who failed to retreat. He got no answer.

Hendren asked whether news crews that felt threatened at the U.S. Capitol last week could have shot people. “It depends,” Ballinger said.


Sen. Stephanie Flowers testified against the bill as she did in the last legislative session. She became famous for her marks then. She acknowledged a majority of the committee sponsored the bill. She said the bill was not an improvement on existing law, which allows self-defense and requires no retreat in the home.

Sorry, I have to take a break from computer before conclusion.

UPDATE: Of course the committee endorsed the bill on a 5-2 vote, with Hendren and Flowers voting no. There some impassioned, informed speeches against this bad legislation.

Interesting footnote noted above by Marine Glisovic on people who’ve been working to make the bill even more friendly to use of guns against threats, real or imagined. Gun nut Jan Morgan and Tim Loggains, fiance (former?) of the woman who killed former Sen. Linda Collins. Loggains has been lobbying to amend the part of the legislation that requires someone to lawfully be in place when opening fire. Trespassers ought to be able to open fire, too, I guess.


Opposition groups commented:

The Arkansas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass SB 24, a so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill which would embolden vigilantes and extremists to shoot first and ask questions later, weaken gun laws, and make Arkansas less safe, particularly for people of color. The bill now moves to the full Senate.

The FBI is warning us that armed extremists plan to descend on our state Capitol – but instead of debating laws that would keep us safe, our lawmakers just advanced racist legislation that would embolden those same extremists to shoot first and ask questions later,” said Amy Gillespie, a volunteer with the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Arkansas already has strong self-defense laws, and this unnecessary bill would just make Arkansas more dangerous, particularly for Black people and other people of color.”

Arkansas already has strong self-defense laws which allow people to defend themselves in dangerous situations. But SB 24, introduced by Sen. Ballinger, is a “Stand Your Ground” proposal which would encourage armed vigilantism and would allow a person to kill another person in public even if the shooter could have safely walked away from danger. “Stand Your Ground” laws are associated with increases in homicide rates resulting in more than 150 additional gun deaths each month. “Stand Your Ground” laws are also associated with an increase in firearm injuries, resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are inherently dangerous for everyone, but have a particularly harmful impact on people of color. When white shooters kill Black victims and claim a “Stand Your Ground” defense, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable far more frequently than when the victim is white and the shooter Black.

Shame on the prosecutors of Arkansas who have decided to enable this.

I enjoyed this note on tough-talking Bob Ballinger, trying to a hurry a vote so he doesn’t have to field criticism. What’s he afraid of. He’s got his guns, after all.