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Proposed Arkansas Stand Your Ground law fails in House committee

The controversial Stand Your Ground bill passed the Arkansas Senate, but was voted down in the House Committee, effectively keeping the bill from becoming law.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — UPDATE 2/3/2021 - A controversial Stand Your Ground bill that passed the Arkansas Senate was voted down in the House Committee Tuesday, effectively stopping the bill from becoming law.

The Senate panel previously voted in favor of loosening restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense last month before it was sent to the House. 

The bill failed on a voice vote after a long committee meeting where opponents spoke against the proposal. 

There were 25 people set to testify in front of the committee. 

"Arkansas' existing self-defense laws already efficiently give people the right to protect themselves," said Kate Fletcher with Moms Demand Action Arkansas.

"We recognize peoples' rights and we don't make them back down," said Paul Calvert who was for the bill. 

A similar proposal failed 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 Sen. Flowers' testimony went viral on social media.

Senator Bob Ballinger who proposed the bill says a motion will be made Wednesday to pull the bill from the committee and send it straight to the House floor. 

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

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1/19/2021 - The Arkansas Senate has approved legislation easing restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense, sending the measure to the House. 

The majority Republican Senate voted 27 to 7 on Tuesday for the measure that would remove the state's duty to retreat. The bill now heads to the majority Republican House. 

A similar measure failed before a Senate panel two years ago, but has moved more easily through the Legislature after groups that opposed it in 2019 said they're neutral on the latest version. 

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has not said whether he supports the legislation.

This site is maintained by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, Information Systems Dept., and is the official website of the Arkansas General Assembly.