Arkansas is likely to join at least 25 other states in withdrawing the "duty to retreat" for law-abiding citizens threatened by dangerous attackers. The duty to retreat delays self-defense and puts the life of the victim in danger, while excusing the attacker despite being responsible for creating a dangerous situation.
Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – District 5) filed Senate Bill 24 on Dec. 23, which is should appear before the Senate judiciary committee by mid-January 2021.
“The ability for residents in rural areas, like Johnson and Pope County, where response times may be longer because of less law enforcement officers covering a larger area, is pivotal,” Rep. Pilkington, another proponent of the bill said. "By the time the police or sheriff department can arrive, it could be too late for the crime victims living out in the more remote areas of our state.”
Laws in at least half of the United States (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia) do not require law-abiding citizens to retreat in the face of a threat, according to the National Conference of States Legislatures.
Ten states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) allow victims to stand their ground and defend themselves in any areas that they are legally allowed to be present.
Commenting on the proposed legislation, Sen. Ballinger said that the state of Arkansas must move past party politics and “provide clarity for good citizens who just wish to protect themselves and others.”
He added that a group of legislators were willing to work with prosecutors, self-defense advocacy groups, and law enforcement to “craft the right stand your ground legislation.”
However, State Senator Stephanie Flowers (D – District 25) vehemently opposed the bill, asking Senate Judiciary Committee co-chair Sen. Alan Clarke (R – District 13), “Are you going to shoot me?!”
Moms Demand Action Communications Director Kate Fletcher falsely alleged that the law would allow gun owners to “shoot first and ask questions later.”
However, Sen Ballinger pointed out that there’s no evidence that the “Stand Your Ground” law leads to more shooting victims.
“The people started talking about it being a license to kill or people talk about you know how it’s going to increase violence well the statistics don’t show that,” Sen Ballinger said.
A similar proposal was passed in Ohio and is currently awaiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature although there are serious doubts on whether he would sign the bill.
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