Earlier today, President Trump spoke at the NRA’s convention. This year’s convention comes as the NRA is in a state of crisis. As the organization has grown increasingly fringe, its agenda has fallen out of favor with Americans from all walks of life, including politicians in states that were once considered gun lobby strongholds.
As Amber Phillips detailed in a new piece from the Washington Post today, this week, legislative session officially ended in Arkansas, where the gun lobby failed to pass a Stand Your Ground bill. This legislation would have significantly threatened public safety in the state by emboldening people to shoot to kill even when there is a safe alternative. Passing Stand Your Ground was a gun lobby priority in Arkansas this year.
Concerned citizens around the state stood up to the gun lobby, voicing forceful concerns about the impact Stand Your Ground would have on the safety of Arkansas communities.
Volunteers with the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition opposing the bill. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors testified against the bill, arguing that it would have a negative impact on public safety. And, Arkansas state Sen. Stephanie Flowers made headlines around the country when she issued an impassioned plea for lawmakers to consider the disproportionate impact stand your ground has on African Americans.
Despite this opposition, the NRA tried every legislative maneuver it could think of to pass Stand Your Ground. The organization amended the bill over and over in an attempt to make it more palatable, attempted to bring the bill back in committee even after it was defeated and, when that didn’t work, tried to make an end run around the committee process and move the bill directly to the floor.
Each of these attempts failed, with Arkansas lawmakers ultimately tabling the Stand Your Ground bill for the remainder of session, a stark defeat for the NRA on a bill that the organization previously appeared committed to passing. The defeat of Stand Your Ground in Arkansas is just the latest proof that the NRA’s policy agenda isn’t just dangerous — it is unpopular with voters and lawmakers alike.