Senate approves Arkansas ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, bill moves on to House

The Senate majority voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday, which would remove the state’s duty to retreat before using deadly force in certain circumstances.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — An Arkansas Senate panel has voted in favor of loosening restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the proposal that would remove the state’s duty to retreat before using deadly force in certain circumstances.

On Tuesday, the bill was passed by the Senate with the majority of 27 votes for the bill. Seven voted against the bill and one did not vote.

The proposal failed before the same committee two years ago after State Senator Stephanie Flowers (D- Pine Bluff) made an impassioned speech against the proposal invoking the fear of gun violence her children and other African-Americans feel in her crime-plagued district. A recording of the testimony went viral on social media.

But Flowers was more reserved last Wednesday in her remarks against the latest proposal, pointing to the fact that five of the bill’s sponsors hold seats on the eight-person panel. 

“I can count, and I know that it only takes five votes to get out of the committee,” she said. “But I appreciate you indulging me for a few minutes. And I’m not trying to get a viral video.”

Currently, 25 states across the U.S. have ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in place.

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