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A bill that would have eliminated the “duty to retreat” (when one can do safely) from Arkansas’ self-defense laws was narrowly voted down in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee on March 6, 2019 after hours of testimony against the legislation from gun control groups, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and civil-rights advocates.
In addition to that testimony, one of the chief reasons the “Stand Your Ground” bill was defeated was an impassioned plea from state Sen. Stephanie Flowers, the only African-American member of the committee. Flowers wanted to talk about the threat that “Stand Your Ground” laws pose to young black men like her son, and was infuriated when Republicans on the committee voted to restrict debate.
“Senator, you need to stop,” the committee chair, Sen. Alan Clark of Lonsdale, told Flowers. “No the hell I don’t,” she replied to her white male counterpart. “What are you going to do, shoot me?”
The senator went on to give a stirring description of what it is like to be black and living in Arkansas—a state that arms violent white men and gives them unfettered freedom to carry loaded guns in public. Flowers cited the case of Trayvon Martin while talking about fearing for her son’s well-being and recounted feeling “threatened” when a group of armed open carry extremists demonstrated outside her law office in Pine Bluff. She was also upset with her colleagues in the Senate who carry hidden guns into the state capitol to intimidate, and said so plainly.
Please contact Arkansas state Senator Stephanie Flowers through one of the channels below and give her the following message, personalized to your liking:
Senator Flowers, I cannot tell you how inspired I was by your speech against a “Stand Your Ground” bill during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the evening of March 6, 2019. Your defense of your son and the safety of other young men of color was powerful and necessary. Like you, I cannot stomach “Stand Your Ground” laws. They are immoral and allow for human lives to be taken when it is entirely unnecessary. “Stand Your Ground” laws and other weak gun laws are tools that white men in this society use to control others through violence and the threat thereof. Please keep fighting against them vocally and passionately. I will be standing 100% behind you in this struggle for justice. And the next time someone tries to silence me, I will remember your fiery example and persist with courage!
Arkansas state Senator Stephanie Flowers
Phone: (870) 535-1032
Once you have contacted Senator Flowers, fill in the three fields below and click the orange banner to report taking action!