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AR – GUN POLITICS – Stand-ground bill introduced by legislators

Republicans in the Arkansas Legislature introduced a “stand-your-ground” self-defense bill Wednesday, vowing to enact the measure in 2021 after past efforts failed in the face of law enforcement opposition. The legislation, Senate Bill 24, proposes to eliminate language from the state’s criminal codes requiring a person to retreat, if possible, before using deadly force in self-defense. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Bob Ballinger, R- Berryville, and Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Clarksville, and co-sponsored by more than two dozen other GOP lawmakers. Ballinger and Pilkington were each sponsors of similar legislation put forward in 2019 to eliminate the duty to retreat, but they encountered opposition from gun-control groups, law enforcement officials and prosecutors. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, while never formally taking a stance for or against the measure in 2019, said at the time that he was “hesitant” to change the state’s existing self-defense laws. Ultimately, the 2019 effort failed after a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee joined with the committee’s three Democrats to vote against the measure, stalling the bill in committee. In a tweet announcing a return of the legislation Wednesday, Ballinger thanked the National Rifle Association — a longtime proponent of stand-your-ground laws — and the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which opposed the 2019 legislation before switching to a neutral stance after changes were made in the bill.  [full article]

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