FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action is pleased to announce the filing of NRA-backed legislation, Senate Bill 24, in Arkansas. This important piece of legislation would eliminate the duty to retreat for victims of a crime — if passed, a victim who is attacked will no longer be required by law to try and run away.
“Laws should favor victims — not criminals, as they do now. When crimes occur, victims have little time to decide the best course of action for survival. They should not be required to run away or face prosecution for defending themselves,” said Matt Herriman, NRA Arkansas state director. “This measure is common sense. Anyone who opposes it puts the interests of the criminal above the interests of the victim.”
SB 24, introduced by Sen. Bob Ballinger, was filed Dec. 23 and will come before the Senate Judiciary in the second week of January. Rep. Aaron Pilkington will sponsor the legislation on the House side.
“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,” said Rep. Pilkington. "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 25 states provide that there is no duty to retreat in any place in which one is lawfully present. (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.) At least 10 of those states include language stating one may “stand his or her ground.” (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.)
“It is time that Arkansas move past the politics and provide clarity for good citizens who just wish to protect themselves and others,” said Sen. Ballinger of Ozark. “Over the last few years, a group of legislators went to work with prosecutors, self-defense advocacy groups, and law enforcement to craft the right stand your ground legislation for Arkansas. We look forward to it passing during this upcoming session and I will be relieved when law-abiding Arkansans get to share the protections provided in so many other states,” Ballinger concluded.
Herriman concluded, “Crime victims should not have to worry that defending themselves or their families could result in legal trouble. This is such an important measure and the NRA looks forward to working with lawmakers to score a big win in the name of self-defense for all law-abiding Arkansans.”