This past weekend marked a deadly weekend in Little Rock. In just 26 hours, as many as 11 shootings took place across the city. The violence began Saturday afternoon as two shootings rang out within twenty minutes of each other, killing one person. Later that evening, another person was shot and killed on the other side of the capital city. Over the course of the entire weekend, gunfire killed three people and left four more wounded. Weekends like this one permanently alter entire communities, leaving scars on survivors and loved ones, and unfortunately, the tragedies of this past weekend represent only a fraction of the gun violence that impacts Arkansans on a daily basis.
The painful reality in Arkansas is this: weak gun laws are costing Arkansans their lives. Research shows that states with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun violence, and Arkansas scores only 5 out of 100 for gun law strength. Despite the fact that Arkansas has the 8th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US, state lawmakers are still actively working to weaken the state’s already sparse gun laws. Last week, the Arkansas Legislature reconvened in Little Rock for a special session but took no meaningful action on gun safety. This inaction could prove costly, as families and communities continue to be deeply impacted by gun violence in its many forms.
Following the tragic shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, gun violence survivors and gun safety advocates with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action held lawmakers accountable and demanded action on gun safety, culminating in the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — the first federal legislation on gun safety in nearly three decades. Arkansas lawmakers should take a cue from federal lawmakers and work across the aisle to pass common sense gun safety legislation to keep Arkansans safe.
In an average year, 596 people are killed by guns in Arkansas, and 823 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the state. Gun violence costs Arkansas $8.2 billion each year, of which $181.4 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Arkansas is available here.
To speak with an Arkansas Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.