- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2019

An Arkansas state senator lit up the Capitol building with an emotional protest to a bill that would remove a “duty to retreat” provision in the state’s self-defense laws.

Advocates of “stand your ground” laws have been attempting to pass a similar measure in Arkansas for over a decade, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The provision was put up to debate with the suggestion that the senators institute a time limit Wednesday. When Senator Stephanie Flowers requested time to comment, committee chairman Senator Alan Clark said as long as she made it quick.

Ms. Flowers responded, “I’ll be as quick as I can, as quick as it takes to kill somebody, I guess.”

“It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many black kids, black boys, black men, are being killed with these ‘stand your ground’ defenses that these people raise, and they get off,” she said.

Ms. Flowers added, “I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color, OK? I am a mother too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for yours. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.”

The senator said she’s thankful that her son doesn’t live in Arkansas anymore when legislators were “bringing up crap like this,” adding, “It offends me, and then to limit the debate too? This is crazy.”

She addressed the gun rights supporters saying they “don’t have to worry about” their children the same way the black community has to, citing open carry laws.

“I worry about my son. And I worry about other little black boys and girls. And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they’ve got open carry rights, walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse. That’s a bully,” Ms. Flowers said.

She added, “do I have a right to stand my ground with some crazy-ass person walking around with a doggone gun? I don’t know what the hell he intends to do. But I know I am scared, I feel threatened.”

When Mr. Clark told Ms. Flowers that she “needs to stop,” that only angered her further.

“No, the hell I don’t,” the Pine Bluff Democrat protested. “What are you going to do, shoot me?”

Ms. Flowers then said, “do what the hell you want to do, go ahead, but you can’t silence me,” before reportedly storming out of the courtroom.

The bill was voted down by a 4-3 margin. The sponsor of the legislation, Republican Bob Ballinger, said he would reintroduce the bill, according to the Gazette.

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