An amendment to a controversial “stand-your-ground” bill was passed on Thursday, Jan. 14 by members of the Arkansas Senate.
Senators voted to adopt an amendment to Senate Bill 24, sponsored by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-Ozark), which legislates the use of physical deadly force when used in self-defense. The bill was discussed on Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which recommended that the amendment pass.
Senate Bill 24 would not require individuals to retreat before using “deadly physical force” in self-defense. The bill provides certain requirements for the use of deadly force, including being “lawfully present” at the location and having a “reasonable belief” that there is an imminent threat of death or bodily injury against oneself or another person. In addition, the person using deadly force in self-defense cannot be the “initial aggressor” except in certain situtations.
The new amendment specifies that an individual is not required to retreat before using deadly force if he or she is not “committing a felony offense of possession of a firearm by certain persons…with the firearm used to employ the deadly physical force…” unless the individual is within his/her home or within his/her curtilage.
On Wednesday, Ballinger moved to suspend the rules to adopt the amendment to the bill. This motion was defeated when a roll call vote was counted, and the motion failed to garner the necessary 24 votes.
Ballinger read the amendment and the senators subsequently adopted the amendment, voting by voice..