Arkansas House and Senate Approve Church Carry


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JPG19
February 4, 2013, 07:44 PM
Just thought I'd let folks know that Arkansas seems to be heading in the right direction when it comes to firearms.

http://m.4029tv.com/news/Arkansas-House-approves-guns-in-church-bill/-/17419908/18402724/-/10pu919z/-/index.html

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jimmyraythomason
February 4, 2013, 07:47 PM
The measure leaves it up to individual places of worship to decide whether to allow concealed handguns and who could carry them. They need legislative action for that? That should be a given,(it is here).

Deltaboy
February 4, 2013, 08:06 PM
The left got church's excluded when it first got past. I'm glad they are getting this fixed. I encourage fellow Pastors and staff to carry. We had a Pastor and his secretary get beaten He died and the other one will never be the same . We are not as respected as we once was even 15 years ago. As Jesus said the time will come to buy a sword. LK 22:36 Today is the time to heed this advice.

Sambo82
February 5, 2013, 02:00 AM
Very exciting things are happening here in Arkansas this legislative session. This happens to be the first time that Republicans have controlled the state since Reconstruction :)

Outlaw Man
February 5, 2013, 10:32 AM
I was impressed with the overwhelming support this had in the House and Senate. I agree it should be a no-brainer. Why would churches let the State tell them what to do? At least it's all over but the shouting.

Maybe we can get stand your ground next...

BossHogg
February 5, 2013, 10:46 AM
Maybe we can get stand your ground next...

That would be a big +1.

Fryerpower
February 5, 2013, 11:02 AM
And for all of us chuch going CCW people out there:
Exodus 22:2
“If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed;"

Yes, it specifically says theaf breaking in at night, but I think it applies to protecting yourself and your loved ones. Carry everywhere you legally can. This includes church, the doctor's office, the stop and shop, the park, etc. If you CAN LEGALLY carry you should. You never know when and where it can happen.

We can legally carry in church here in Tennessee. I'm glad to hear that they are moving in the right direction in Arkansas.

Jim

Arkansas Paul
February 5, 2013, 11:24 AM
Open carry is going to be on the agenda this session as well. Hopefully that will pass as well.

baz
February 5, 2013, 01:43 PM
I've worked with those lobbying for this since the 2009 session (AR only has sessions every other year, for those who do not know). We couldn't ever get it out of committee before. The stronger Republican presence helped this time, but plenty of Democrats supported the measure as well. But the Governor has said he wants some changes "to protect churches" before he signs the bill. So there may be some tweaking of the bill before it is law.

But my question for the Governor is "protection from whom?" Does he think all the those with CHL who go to church are about to go postal? Actually, the Governor is a Democrat, and I think he's pandering to the few Democrats who voted against the Bill. I don't know their reasons this time, but in the two prior sessions, they had some pretty silly reasons for opposing the change. As others have noted, we're just catching up with what other states already allow.

Outlaw Man
February 5, 2013, 03:38 PM
If I remember correctly, Beebe was involved in Arkansas's original CHL legislation, and he's typically been somewhat supportive of it. He made a similar "anti" comment two years ago when open carry came up. Apparently, people would be getting into shootouts at wrestling matches in Verizon Arena, or something. I don't understand his irrational fears, he's typically fairly level-headed.

Fortunately, with the overwhelming majority with which this bill passed, a veto won't necessarily change anything.

JPG19
February 5, 2013, 03:54 PM
Open carry and Stand Your Ground sounds too good to be true but I'm praying for it! I heard that the governor has already stated that he will sign the bill, hopefully without any changes since there was so much support for this law in both the House and the Senate.

Spats McGee
February 5, 2013, 04:18 PM
Maybe we can get stand your ground next...
That would be a big +1.
We may not have anything titled Stand Your Ground, but take a look at Ark. Code Ann. 5-2-607:

(a) A person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if the person reasonably believes that the other person is:
(1) Committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence;
(2) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force; or
(3) Imminently endangering the person's life or imminently about to victimize the person as described in § 9-15-103 from the continuation of a pattern of domestic abuse.
(b) A person may not use deadly physical force in self-defense if the person knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force with complete safety:
(1)(A) By retreating.
(B) However, a person is not required to retreat if the person is:
(i) In the person's dwelling or on the curtilage surrounding the person's dwelling and was not the original aggressor; or
(ii) A law enforcement officer or a person assisting at the direction of a law enforcement officer; or
(2) By surrendering possession of property to a person claiming a lawful right to possession of the property.

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-607
Take a good look at those sections. As I said, Arkansas may not have anything as catchy as Stand Your Ground, but the code section above provides pretty stout protections for someone defending him- or herself. A person may not use deadly force if that person knows that he or she can retreat with complete safety. Key words are "knows" and "complete safety." A suspicion or belief on the part of the shooter that he or she can retreat to more safety or partial safety isn't sufficient to impose a duty to retreat.

Fryerpower
February 5, 2013, 05:43 PM
It also specifically says that you are not required to retreat if you are in your dwelling and are not the original aggressor.

Nice.

Jim

baz
February 5, 2013, 05:44 PM
Fortunately, with the overwhelming majority with which this bill passed, a veto won't necessarily change anything.Well, he isn't going to veto it. It went through the Senate this afternoon for a final vote, with only 1 nay, and has been reported as "delivered to the Governor." What I see "delivered to the Governor" is unchanged from what the House passed back to the Senate, so I don't know if there is any opportunity for him to get any changes to it now, or not. (I have only minimal understanding of AR's legislative workings.)

Outlaw Man
February 5, 2013, 05:53 PM
My understanding isn't much better, if any. I think a veto is the only option now, other than another piece of legislation after the fact.

I can't remember if he has line item veto power, if that would even make a difference.

baz
February 5, 2013, 06:19 PM
Take a good look at those sections. As I said, Arkansas may not have anything as catchy as Stand Your Ground, but the code section above provides pretty stout protections for someone defending him- or herself. A person may not use deadly force if that person knows that he or she can retreat with complete safety. Key words are "knows" and "complete safety." A suspicion or belief on the part of the shooter that he or she can retreat to more safety or partial safety isn't sufficient to impose a duty to retreat.I think a big difference here may be that the Arkansas code you cite addresses the issue of retreat only on your own property, whereas a true "Stand Your Ground" law would apply to anywhere you might be. The law is good, as far as removing the burden of proof in using lethal force on your own property, but it would be nice to have a true "Stand Your Ground" law.

Spats McGee
February 6, 2013, 09:19 AM
baz, take another look at the section that I underlined. It provides a limitation on when one can use deadly force, but not where. You're not required to retreat in your own dwelling or the curtilage, but you're only restricted from using deadly force (when it's otherwise authorized) if you know you can retreat in complete safety. I don't read that part as only applying to one's own property. The other caveat, of course, being that you cannot use deadly force if you can avoid the necessity of doing so by surrendering property to one claiming a lawful right to possession of the property.

baz
February 6, 2013, 02:32 PM
Spats,

The part you underlined is in the negative, implying that you do have a duty retreat (quite the opposite of "Stand Your Ground") unless the circumstances in Part B apply. It is Part B which removes the duty to retreat, but it specifically limits it to "a person's dwelling or on the curtilage surrounding the person's dwelling." When I first got my CHL (back in 2006) I don't think the "or on the curtilage surrounding the person's dwelling" language was then part of the law, and it was a common bit of gallows humor to suggest that if you shot someone on your property, drag them inside before calling the police. With that language added, we no longer have to do that. ;)

I still think you are overstating what the law permits. Have you taken a concealed carry class in Arkansas? If so, recently? What I'm wondering is if you are just going off your own reading of the law you cited, or if your understanding is based on something you might have picked up in a concealed carry class. Just curious, not trying to be argumentative. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But you haven't persuaded me yet.

Spats McGee
February 6, 2013, 04:30 PM
Fair enough, baz. I've got no problems with your questions.

I'm basing my interpretation on:
3 years of law school;
10 years as an Arkansas attorney;
my concealed carry class in 2010 or 2011; and
a few years of legal research on this issue.

Let's take another look at the section:
. . . .
(b) A person may not use deadly physical force in self-defense if the person knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force with complete safety:
(1)(A) By retreating.
(B) However, a person is not required to retreat if the person is:
(i) In the person's dwelling or on the curtilage surrounding the person's dwelling and was not the original aggressor; or
(ii) A law enforcement officer or a person assisting at the direction of a law enforcement officer; or
(2) By surrendering possession of property to a person claiming a lawful right to possession of the property.
Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-607
Technically, there is a duty to retreat, but that duty is very narrow and conditional. "A person may not use deadly force in self-defense if the person knows that he or she can avoid the necessiety of deadly force with complete safety by retreating.

For the moment, let's just skip the "dwelling or curtilage" part, as I think we both agree that there's no duty to retreat in your own home. The SD shooter (not the aggressor) is prohibited from using deadly force "if he knows that he can retreat with complete safety." So the SD shooter must know that he or she can retreat with complete safety before the legal authorization to use deadly force is withdrawn, and the duty to retreat takes over.

Think about this for a second: Once you're in a position where gunfire seems like the best option, how often will you know (not suspect) that you can retreat with complete (not more, not partial) safety?

Outlaw Man
February 6, 2013, 05:30 PM
Spats,

I got pretty much the same explanation in my concealed carry class. The instructor was law enforcement and had spoken to several attorneys on the matter. I tend to agree.

I think the big push for a Stand Your Ground law comes from the possible added shelter from prosecution. I think we can all agree on what was a clean shoot, but sometimes the prosecutors don't and you end up with a costly legal battle. Still not the end of the world, but not preferable.

baz
February 6, 2013, 05:43 PM
Think about this for a second: Once you're in a position where gunfire seems like the best option, how often will you know (not suspect) that you can retreat with complete (not more, not partial) safety?Good credentials. I better understand your position, but is there any case law on point? And where does this leave the burden of proof? Isn't it still with the shooter? And isn't the purpose of "Stand Your Ground" to clarify that the shooter doesn't have the burden of proof? It does seem to me that the way the law is worded leaves a lot to be desired.

Thanks for the insights.

Outlaw Man
February 6, 2013, 06:01 PM
A little off topic (not that this whole conversation isn't), but I got to thinking about exception #2.

I understand why. You can't shoot someone over a property dispute. But it basically makes you defenseless against a mugging. Granted, I don't own anything that's worth more than someone's life, and there's still the matter of knowing you can escape in complete safety, but it does, by my reading alone, give muggers a little bit of a free ride.

I realize it's a sticky situation, all around. I'm just trying to think through that part.

Spats McGee
February 6, 2013, 06:06 PM
In most jurisdictions, self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means that the burden is on the SD shooter to demonstrate that it was self-defense, as defined under relevant state law. In Arkansas, though:

Because justification is not an affirmative defense, the State has the burden of negating the defense once it is put in issue. Peals v. State, 266 Ark. 410, 584 S.W.2d 1 (1979). The defense of justification is a matter of intent and a question of fact for the jury. Johninson v. State, 317 Ark. 431, 878 S.W.2d 727 (1994). One who claims self-defense must show not only that the person killed was the aggressor, but that the accused used all reasonable means within his power and consistent with his safety to avoid the killing. Ricketts v. State, 292 Ark. 256, 729 S.W.2d 400 (1987). Evidence of specific acts of violence that were directed at an accused or were within his knowledge are probative of what the accused reasonably believed at the time and thus relevant to his plea of self-defense. Simpkins v. State, 48 Ark.App. 14, 889 S.W.2d 37 (1994).

Humphrey v. State, 332 Ark. 398, 409, 966 S.W.2d 213, 218-19 (1998)

If you can lay hold of a copy of Humphrey, which you should be able to do at your county law library (every county has one), it's a very instructive read. To give you an idea of the facts behind Humphrey,
Lamont Reynolds testified that . . . . Mr. Cook asked Mr. Humphrey if he had “some beef” with him, and that they began arguing. Mr. Cook began pushing Mr. Humphrey. Mr. Cook then reached for something at his waist under his coat as if he had a gun, but he never saw anything that resembled a gun. He testified that then Mr. Humphrey shot at Mr. Cook fifteen or sixteen times from five to ten feet away, and that he did not remember Mr. Humphrey stopping shooting and then beginning again. He stated that Mr. Humphrey was the only person doing the shooting. Mr. Cook fell after about the fourth shot, and Mr. Humphrey kept shooting after Mr. Cook was lying on the pavement.

Humphrey v. State, 332 Ark. 398, 404, 966 S.W.2d 213, 216 (1998)
There's a great deal more to that tale that needs to be taken into account, but the case does a very good job of explaining the scenario. In all fairness, this is a fairly extreme SD case, but the trial court had refused to instruct the jury on SD. The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed and remanded. That DOES NOT mean that the Ark. S. Ct. exonerated Mr. Humphrey. It does mean that Mr. Humphrey put forth the SD defense and that the Ark. S. Ct. felt that such an issue should have gone to the jury. I do not know whether the subsequent jury convicted Mr. Humphrey or not.

Nonetheless, Humphrey does a good job of laying out the parameters of Arkansas law on the duty to retreat and its boundaries.

Spats McGee
February 6, 2013, 06:08 PM
Outlaw Man, that exception is "by surrendering property to someone claiming a lawful right to possession. "Give it here or I'll cut you!" is not a claim to a lawful right to posssession. "Give it here because it's mine!" is.

Outlaw Man
February 6, 2013, 06:23 PM
I understand, but I'm more concerned with "claiming." If your "give it" example were preceded by "that's mine," I'm afraid you have a different scenario. Of course, this is all predicated on one of those thugs actually thinking this through. "I said" with no witnesses isn't the most concrete evidence in court, either.

Thanks for the heads-up on the court case. I'm going to try to find that.

baz
February 6, 2013, 06:38 PM
I found a copy of the Humphrey decision online, here (http://opinions.aoc.arkansas.gov/weblink8/0/doc/179138/Electronic.aspx). I'll read it later this evening, or tomorrow. Thanks.

Spats McGee
February 6, 2013, 09:09 PM
By the way, I'm not sure where this bill was when this thread was started, but the bill is now headed for the Governor's desk.

locnload
February 8, 2013, 08:10 PM
This is partialy toung in cheek, and partialy serious but I really want to know. With all the hub bub about "the seperation of church and state" in every other area, how is it that State law has any business prescribing whether a church does or does not allow their parishoners to carry firearms on church property? :confused:

Spats McGee
February 8, 2013, 08:33 PM
The separation of church and state doctrine are derived from the A1: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. . . . " (My best shot at a quote without actually looking it up.) Congress cannot support one particular religion, nor disparage one, but it can pass laws that affect all religions equally. Same applies to states, more or less.

baz
February 8, 2013, 10:45 PM
Congress cannot support one particular religion, nor disparage one, but it can pass laws that affect all religions equally.Well, it actually was close in this case to favoring those churches which opposed guns in church on religious grounds, and those which did not. In prior sessions the "church carry" bill could not get out of committee because of certain legislators on the relevant committee were basing their opposition on their religious views.

I always thought of this as more of a 14th Amendment (equal protection) issue, than a 1st Amendment issue. Why were churches singled out for discrimination on this issue? A charitable non-profit with public meetings was free to determine whether or not to allow concealed carry on its premises. Why were churches not allowed the same freedom?

I also believed that it violated the Religious Liberty clause of the Arkansas Constitution. There was some effort to get an AG ruling on this in 2009, but inexplicably, to me, they didn't address the Religious Liberty clause of the Arkansas Constitution. But that is all water over the dam.

I think Beebe has to sign the bill on Monday, at the latest.

Spats McGee
February 9, 2013, 10:20 AM
Well, it actually was close in this case to favoring those churches which opposed guns in church on religious grounds, and those which did not. In prior sessions the "church carry" bill could not get out of committee because of certain legislators on the relevant committee were basing their opposition on their religious views.
Legislators have been basing their opinions on all sorts of legislation on their religion since time immemorial, so that's nothing new.

As for favoring, favoring in what way? In order to really look at the "favoring those churches which opposed guns in church on religious grounds," I'm going to suggest that you consider three things: (1) how many churches would base a ban on guns on their property on religious grounds; (2) how many churches would support or require the carrying of arms on religious grounds; and (3) whether such holdings would be central to said churches' religious belief system. I don't have the answer to those questions, but if I court were examining the question, that would be part of a court's analysis.

Anyway, locnload asked about the "separation of church and state." That's derived from the A1 on a federal level. I haven't tried to approach the issue by looking at the Arkansas Constitution. I was just trying to answer the question that was asked.

Evergreen
February 10, 2013, 05:41 AM
In Oregon and Washington we have been able to carry guns in our churches for a long time. I am surprised a freedom loving red-state like Arkansas would ban something that is so inherently Constitutional. People always say the Deep South is the most freedom loving, but then I hear about these type of laws and I wonder what's going on with laws such as these.

I guess they forgot the Separation of Church and State and the 2nd Amendment? Oops.

baz
February 10, 2013, 07:30 AM
In Oregon and Washington we have been able to carry guns in our churches for a long time.This past summer I took a driving trip from Arkansas through Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California, and then back home through the Southwest. Only in Oregon and California (of course), did I have to remove my CCW and pack it away.

Every state has idiosyncrasies about something.

Evergreen
February 10, 2013, 03:38 PM
This past summer I took a driving trip from Arkansas through Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California, and then back home through the Southwest. Only in Oregon and California (of course), did I have to remove my CCW and pack it away.

Every state has idiosyncrasies about something.
I had to drive to Grant County, Oregon to get my Oregon out-of-state CHL. I agree the reciprocity deal is one of Oregon's greatest flaws and has been challenged quite a bit. On a bright note, I hear more and more sheriffs as of late are now issuing out-of-state permits, but you have to take a trip to Oregon, which is unfortunate.


Anyway, glad to hear Arkansas people finally got the freedom to carry in church. I have carried when I go to my religious congregation and I will say a law like that would leave me with a very sour taste in my mouth. Also, considering how some religious congregations are vulnerable to attack, it is criminal, IMO, that government would ban people from being able to defend themselves.

michaelbsc
February 10, 2013, 07:28 PM
And Oregon issues only to bordering states. Not places like Arkansas or Florida.

baz
February 11, 2013, 01:23 PM
Senate -- Notification that SB71 is now Act 67.

So it's done. I don't know if Beebe signed it, or just let it pass into law without signing. I've not seen any news reports one way or the other.

Now we just have to watch out for HB1284, hope it goes nowhere, and rally opposition if it looks like it has legs.

Outlaw Man
February 11, 2013, 02:35 PM
I got a text alert from KTHV saying he signed it. No link to a news story as of yet.

OT, but we've got to push for the privacy bill, too.

Arkansas Paul
February 11, 2013, 03:10 PM
It wouldn't make sense not to sign it seeing how lopsided the vote was. It only takes 51% to veto.

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