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Recent Gun Violence in Arkansas Highlights Need for Gun Safety

On Saturday night, Fayetteville Police Officer Stephen Carr was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol vehicle, prompting national news coverage of gun violence in Arkansas. The shooting was one of several in Northwest Arkansas in recent days that have impacted local communities and been stark reminders of the impact of our nation’s gun violence crisis in Arkansas. 

On Friday night, two teenagers were shot and wounded near Fort Smith’s Spradling Park. The same night, 17-year-old Dominick Matt was shot and killed by a Bentonville police officer who was responding to an attempted robbery at a convenience store, prompting a use of force investigation. These three shootings underscore the toll that gun violence takes on Arkansans. 

In an average year, 534 people die by guns in Arkansas, according to EveryStat, a new resource for gun violence statistics. Overall, the state has the seventh-highest rate of gun violence in the United States. The rate of gun deaths in Arkansas increased 30 percent from 2008 to 2017, compared to a 17 percent increase nationwide. 

Gun violence has a devastating impact on Arkansas’ women and children — and it takes a disproportionate toll on Black women and children. Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Arkansas, and from 2013 to 2017, 38 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Arkansas. Black children and teens are three times as likely to die by guns as their white peers, and Black women in Arkansas are two times as likely as white women to be fatally shot by a partner. More information on gun violence in Arkansas is available here

If you’d like to interview a Moms Demand Action volunteer about Arkansas’ gun violence crisis, please reach out.