Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton goes today where few politicians of any stripe in Arkansas dare — gun safety measures.
She will announce in New Hampshire — a gun-friendly state where neighboring Sen. Bernie Sanders leads her in the polls — some ideas on curbing gun violence, chiefly closing the gun show and Internet loopholes on required background checks for weapon purchases. She also reportedly will leave open the possibility of executive action as president to achieve that aim if Congress wouldn't go along. Which it won't, if the past is any predictor.
She also reportedly will target a loophole that allows felons to purchase guns if their background check hasn't been completed in three days. This allowed South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof to buy a gun despite a felony record.
She says she wants to lead a national movement to counter the NRA. This is more popular with the public at large than it is with the political class. Another Clinton, named Bill, stood up to the NRA as governor of Arkansas and managed to weather its anger, but guns have been potent weapons against other politicians in recent Arkansas history.
Messaging is everything and the NRA is nothing if not sophisticated about messaging. A bare majority in 2015 Pew polling, for example, said that it was more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns than to control gun ownership. (My emphasis.) Gun safety advocates criticized the wording, but you can expect to see it repeated in the public debate.
But specific questions reveal a different picture: 85 percent support background checks for private and gun show sales; 67 percent want a federal database to track gun sales; 80 percent want to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining guns; 58 percent want a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
UPDATE: Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the expanded concealed carry legislation, but some additional legislation is promised, at a minimum to exempt UAMS and the State Hospital from the expanded list of places where concealed weapons are allowed for those with a new permit that requires an additional day of training. /more/
The dramatically expanded bill that began as an effort to allow university staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus was approved this morning in a House committee. It concurred in a Senate amendment on a voice vote. /more/
Arkansas Business reports here on a federal court filing Wednesday that shows a second person has pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme to help a major contractor of the state Department of Human Services.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.
A new lawsuit argues that Bruce Ward, scheduled to die by lethal injection next month, is not mentally competent to be executed. It says his condition has been worsened by decades of solitary confinement.