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AR – GUN POLITICS – 27-7 Arkansas Senate vote approves stand-ground legislation; 1 Democrat joins GOP in support

A bill to eliminate the “duty to retreat” provision of Arkansas’ self-defense laws passed the state Senate on Tuesday, with one Democrat joining most of the chamber’s Republicans in support of the legislation. The Senate voted 27-7 in favor of Senate Bill 24, and its passage Tuesday was widely expected after the bill cleared a committee last week where similar legislation had been blocked two years ago. Both supporters and opponents of the legislation have dubbed it as the “stand-your-ground’ law, using the language of the National Rifle Association, which has advocated on behalf of SB24 and similar legislation in other states. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Ozark, argued that Arkansas’ current self-defense laws are “ambiguous” because they require people to retreat, if they can do so safely, before using deadly force to defend themselves. “This is not a license to kill,” Ballinger said. “This does not give you the ability to shoot first and answer questions later, this is the same policy that is in place in the majority of other states.” Opponents of the bill have argued that a change to the current law is unnecessary and merely would make it easier for shooters to get away with unjustified killings.  [full article]

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