Legislation Would Embolden Armed Demonstrators and Extremists to Shoot First and Ask Questions Later
Moms Demand Action Volunteers Are Available for Interviews
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that he would sign SB 24, a so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill which will allow vigilantes and extremists to shoot first and ask questions later, weaken gun laws, make Arkansas less safe, and have disparate impacts on people of color.
“The evidence is stunningly clear: this law will make Arkansas less safe,” said Kate Fletcher, a volunteer with the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “But instead of following the evidence and listening to the overwhelming opposition to this deadly bill, too many of our lawmakers caved to bullies like Sen. Ballinger, Rep. Pilkington, and their NRA allies. Shame on them.”
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee voted to reject this deadly legislation for the first time after a wide array of constituents – faith leaders, disability rights advocates, racial justice advocates, educators, and gun safety advocates – came out to testify against the bill by a more than 20:1 margin.
Faith representatives, researchers, law enforcement, and Moms Demand Action volunteers have called on the legislature to reject this deadly legislation. And nearly 80 faith leaders from across Arkansas sent an open letter to members of the Arkansas legislature, urging them to reject Stand Your Ground.
What to know about so-called “Stand Your Ground”:
- Arkansas already has strong self-defense laws which allow people to defend themselves in dangerous situations. But SB 24, introduced by Sen. Ballinger, is a “Stand Your Ground” proposal which would encourage armed vigilantism and would allow a person to kill another person in public even if the shooter could have safely walked away from danger. “Stand Your Ground” laws are associated with increases in homicide rates translating to more than 150 additional gun deaths each month nationwide. “Stand Your Ground” laws are also associated with an increase in firearm injuries, resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
- So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are inherently dangerous for everyone, but have a particularly harmful impact on people of color. In “Stand Your Ground” states, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.
More information about “Stand Your Ground” laws is available here.