Yesterday, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published an editorial opposing House Bill 1059, which would add dangerous “Stand Your Ground” provisions to Arkansas’ self-defense laws. The Democrat-Gazette expressed concern that the bill would create a culture of violence and increase instances of otherwise avoidable gun deaths in Arkansas.
As the editorial board writes (emphasis added):
“But the pro-gun mood in Little Rock is getting out of hand with Clarksville Republican Rep. Aaron Pilkington’s House Bill 1059. The bill would remove from state law a provision that, in most instances, requires an attempt to retreat when in public before the use of deadly force in self-defense is justified.
A “stand your ground” law such as the one proposed by Pilkington, however, promotes a culture of violence in which reason is tossed aside. It will build into state law an assumption that all shootings, practically, are righteous. It will embolden those for whom legal limits, rather than moral and ethical boundaries, serve as the only parameters of acceptable behaviors.
Broaden the state’s permissive attitude about the use of guns and guess what you’ll get: more people willing to pull the trigger out of the belief that the law gives them that right.
Pilkington’s bill is not needed in Arkansas. Its potential benefits are far outweighed by its potential to harm, the kind of harm that cannot be taken back.”
Current Arkansas law allows a person to use force to defend themselves anywhere but does not allow deadly force in public if there is a safe way to avoid the situation. Stand Your Ground provisions would allow the use of deadly force in public even if there is a safe and clear alternative.
States that have passed Stand Your Ground have seen increases in gun violence and homicides. At least 30 people nationwide are killed each month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. Research shows that Stand Your Ground also has a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
More information on the dangers of Stand Your Ground legislation is available here. To connect with Moms Demand Action volunteers about this dangerous bill, please don’t hesitate to reach out.