Flash from David Goins at Fox 16:
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees voted to opt out of Republican Rep. Charlie Collins' new law to allow college and university staff to carry concealed weapons on campus. The vote was unanimous and applies to all 11 UA campuses. Evie Blad of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette tweeted that campus leaders at the meeting applauded the vote.
Awaiting word on Arkansas State University Board today on same issue.
UPDATE: The ASU Board also voted unanimously against guns on its four campuses.
The line is open. Finishing up:Here's the resolution that Bobbitt will ask the UA Board to approve.
* THINGS ARE HUMMING IN OTTER CREEK: One of those periodic urban retail myths — Costco was looking at a location in Otter Creek — passed over my desk and that reminded me I'd been meaning to check in with Tommy Hodges of Otter Creek Land Co. on the Bass Pro Shops development at the I-30/430 interchange. No, Costco isn't coming. But construction on the Bass Pro Shops outlet is moving along and the store should open, complete with four-acre fishing lake, by October or November, Hodges said. First Security Bank will have a new branch on an outparcel about that time, too. A restaurant may also be among the first new developments. A year later, Hodges said he hopes to have open a high-end outlet mall, with complementing hotel and restaurants. He said a glitzy lineup of tenants has been assembled, but he's not ready to release it yet. The opening of the Bass Pro, with its expected big traffic, should firm up commitments from many businesses, including some retail operations with plans for freestanding businesses.
* VOTE BUYING SENTENCE: Sam Malone, a former West Memphis police officer, was sentenced to 7.2 months of house arrest and additional probation in federal court today for his role in an illegal scheme to elect Hudson Hallum, a Democrat, to a seat in the state House, the U.S. attorney's office said. He, Hallum, Hallum's father and Philip Carter, a West Memphis council member, have pleaded guilty in a scheme that included influencing votes with vodka and chicken dinners. The others haven't been sentenced. Carter will be in court tomorrow; Hallum on June 20.
Count me unsurprised that enhanced legal protection for opening fire on people results in more gun deaths.
But if you can't believe researchers from Texas A&M, who can you believe? From the Law Blog:
In a new study, an economics professor and a PhD student at Texas A&M University take a broader look at the laws’ effect. The authors, Professor Mark Hoekstra and Cheng Cheng, use state-level crime data from 2000 to 2009 to determine whether the laws deter crime.
The answer, they conclude, is no. In fact, the evidence suggests the laws have led to an increase in homicides.
From the study:Results indicate that the prospect of facing additional self-defense does not deter crime. Specifically, we find no evidence of deterrence effects on burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. Moreover, our estimates are sufficiently precise as to rule out meaningful deterrence effects.
In contrast, we find significant evidence that the laws increase homicides. Suggestive but inconclusive evidence indicates that castle doctrine laws increase the narrowly defined category of justifiable homicides by private citizens by 17 to 50 percent, which translates into as many as 50 additional justifiable homicides per year nationally due to castle doctrine. More significantly, we find the laws increase murder and manslaughter by a statistically significant 7 to 9 percent, which translates into an additional 500 to 700 homicides per year nationally across the states that adopted castle doctrine.
Thus, by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force, castle doctrine laws induce more of it. This increase in homicides could be due either to the increased use of lethal force in self-defense situations, or to the escalation of violence in otherwise non-lethal conflicts. We suspect that self-defense situations are unlikely to explain all of the increase, as we also find that murder alone is increased by a statistically significant 6 to 11 percent.
The gun lobby will shortly inform us 1) that the study is all wrong and 2) what's wrong with more "justifiable" homicides anyway? These have included people gunning down petty thieves who posed no physical threat to the shooter, but if you can't shoot someone for breaking into your car, what's a gun for?
In for a penny ....
Asa Hutchinson, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, seems happy to be indelibly branded as the NRA's front man on guns as the calendar rolls toward the May gubernatorial primary. And why not, given the recent gunfest legislative session?
Says here that he'll debate Sarah Brady May 27 on gun control in a program in California moderated by Leon Panetta. Brady chairs the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Her husband, Ronald Reagan's press secretary, was shot in the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt
From Texas, another accidental death (link corrected) of a child from a handgun in a house.
Did a little ol' bill generally assumed to be a technical correction aimed at allowing people to carry handguns on a "journey" without fear of arrest actually deregulate the carrying of handguns entirely? That's the gun nut argument, though it's contested by many, even pro-gun lawyers of the Republican variety such as Rep. Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado. He says deregulation wasn't the intent of the minor corrective. But a court interprets intent only from the plain language of a law and this is a sloppily drafted piece of dreck from Rep. Denny Altes that got the same consideration most gun legislation got this session — it was whooped through. (Note, too, that the bill lifted the prohibition on toting guns into taverns and any other place alcohol is sold.)
It's going to take a court test to clear up, no doubt about that. Who'll be the showcase arrest? Maybe Rep. Nate Bell would volunteer.
Here's the thing. It seems to me if the nutters' argument is right, it's the end of regulation of handguns carried both openly and in concealment. For legal authority, who better than Rep. Bullet Bob Ballinger, a putative lawyer, who had hoped to declare Arkansas immune to federal law when it came to guns, a rare gun defeat in the Fetuses and Firearms and Federally Finance Obamacare Session.
“If it’s given its plain meaning, then it essentially says unless you’re carrying with intent to commit a crime, that you can lawfully carry a handgun,” said Ballinger, a lawyer.
A Facebook comment from someone else who identifies himself as a lawyer:
"I am an attorney and I, as well as many other attorneys, think the new law allows for 'open carry' meaning carrying a handgun openly on your belt anywhere not otherwise prohibited. I believe the new law makes conceal carry laws obsolete. After July 1, any non-prohibited person can carry a handgun, knife, or club on their person or in their vehicle as long as they do not have the intent to attempt to use the weapon unlawfully against a person. The law does not distinguish between open or concealed carry. The new law deletes the section prohibiting carrying a weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol."
That early spring morning, I learned that having a firearm at the ready could give a terrified little boy the ability to successfully defend his mother and siblings from the evil intentions of a criminal. No one was harmed, no shots were fired, and what could have become a horrific crime scene instead remained the home of our unharmed family.
Physically, I was no match for the grown man attached to those large hands on the bathroom window sill. Powder, lead, walnut, brass and steel made an adult criminal flee from a 12 year old boy.
I know firsthand that firearms in the hands of responsible individuals prevent crimes and save lives. As a citizen and elected official, I am 100% committed and dedicated to protecting and preserving the right of EVERY American to defend himself, herself, or loved ones from those who intend to commit evil.
Now that the Arkansas legislature has opened the sanctuary doors to guns in churches — if the churches choose — decisions are being made.
John Lyon at Stephens Media updates the situation and the story includes a couple of points worth highlighting:
* NO GUNS, BUT SOME SWORDS: This from the Catholic bishop in Arkansas:
Catholic churches, however, have been instructed not to allow concealed handguns. After the law was enacted in February, the Diocese of Little Rock sent a directive to pastors stating, “Bishop (Anthony) Taylor has stated that all weapons, whether concealed or unconcealed, are prohibited on the premises of all Catholic churches in our diocese. The only exceptions are law enforcement officers in the exercise of their duties and ceremonial blunt swords used by the Knights of Columbus.”
* PICKING AND CHOOSING: Several pastors seemed to favor a policy that would allow some, but not all, to carry guns. For example, Rev. Schanon Caudle, pastor of North Park Baptist Church in Van Buren.
Caudle said he has not declared a policy for the church, but he would not object to allowing certain church members to carry concealed weapons in church, if they request permission and can give a good explanation for their request.
“I don’t think it ought to be a blanket invitation for everybody to carry one,” he said. “I think it would hurt your witness in the community, if you found out that was a church where everybody was carrying a weapon.”
Where are the 2nd Amendment purists now? A church may decide who may and who may not carry weapons? What part of "shall not be infringed" don't these liberals understand?
The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees voted this morning to opt out of the new state law that allows concealed guns to be carried on campus. The law, by Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, passed with the provision that governing bodies could choose to continue no-gun policies.
UPDATE: A friend e-mails me to say that the Hendrix College Trustees took a similar vote today.
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees is expected to take up the issue May 23, a spokesman said.
Good to be associated with the extremists of the NRA?
In Arkansas Republican circles, the answer is a big ja wohl!
Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is front and center in a lineup of speakers today at the NRA "leadership forum" in Houston that only an assault rifle-packing extremist could give unconditional love.
The NRA convention is expected to draw 70,000 for a celebration of the gun lobby's recent defeat of modest gun legislation. There'll surely be plenty of sneers for the call from Gabby Gifford's husband for moderation in NRA leadership.
Didn't Asa proclaim his independence the other day in releasing the NRA-commissioned study calling for putting more guns in school to combat the ill effects of guns in school?
How nutty is this assembly going to be? Check this out.
Here's another look — lengthy and full of multiple poll citations — on the premise that it would NOT have been politically dangerous for the Fearful Four (Democrats Begich, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, Heitkamp, Baucus) to have allowed a vote on universal gun background checks.
Thomas Edsall makes a point I hit glancingly on the same subject this week. Politicians overestimate the size of the hard-right conservative bloc. This is certainly true in Arkansas, if you believe polling on a wide range of issues from abortion to drugs to guns. But it is an article of faith in Arkansas politics and I can't think of a local politician who won a race by a concerted run to the left (outside of Hillcrest or central Fayetteville, anyway).
Still, Edsall's numbers on the national mood on broad background checks is always worth repeating. And this based on recent academic research:
The Broockmany-Skovronz paper suggests that politicians left, right and center have been making decisions on the basis of mistaken premises about their voters. One hypothesis is that the roots of this misperception originated in the early 1980s, particularly with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, of a Republican Senate majority, and of a working conservative majority in the House.
Those events — followed by the 1994 and 2010 Republican landslides — stunned Democrats from Republican-leaning states, making them apprehensive. Fearing a conservative backlash, they were willing to shift their votes to the right.
The electorate has and will continue to punish liberal excess, but Democrats are only starting to recognize how voters have come to confront the liabilities and costs of conservatism. Democrats do not have a free hand to dole out tax-financed benefits to the liberal interest group community, but the likelihood that they will be punished for supporting common sense measures to contain gun violence is far less than it was two or three decades ago.
In the long run, the best hope for gun control advocates is the changing demographic make-up of the membership of their prime adversary, the National Rifle Association. Not only is the N.R.A. disproportionately dependent on older white men, a declining constituency, but strong majorities of current members, from 74 to 85 percent according to the polls cited above, defy the organization’s leadership and support background checks.
From Kentucky comes the story of a two-year-old killed accidentally by a rifle fired by her five-year-old brother. He had received the rifle as a gift LAST YEAR.
Hey, Alan, what time is it?
ALAN: “It’s time for ‘Stooge of the Night!’ Tonight’s stooge of the night is Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.”
We stay on a photo of Senator Mark Pryor.
DAVE: “Senator Mark Pryor voted ‘NO’ on gun reform legislation even though as a state legislator in Arkansas he authored four gun control bills that included background checks.
‘Hi, please call me ‘Mark.’ What can I do to put you in a LeSabre?’
It’s Mark Pryor, and he is our Stooge of the Night.
So what do you think? The conventional wisdom in the Arkansas legislature and among the gun nut class is that you may not support a single measure, no matter how innocuous, that might require even a bit of paperwork from a gun lover. So wouldn't it be solid gold for Mark Pryor to vote down the line with the NRA? Or what if the polls are right? That a solid majority favor universal background checks? That Mark Pryor's position is a discentive for voters? (Forgetting, of course, that the only other likely viable candidate is even nuttier on guns.) That being labeled a "stooge" on a leading national TV show is not a good thing? Tom Cotton would proudly claim the label, presumably.
And speaking of guns, this was a bangup segment on the subject on the Daily Show, about how conservative politicians in wild and woolly Australia passed tough gun control legislation following a massacre and lived politically to talk about it.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Australia & Gun Control's Aftermath|
Things you might have missed if you don't carefully peruse the open lines:when news developed of a petition drive to refer the legislation to voters. Glenn Gallas, a familiar anti-tax crusader from the tea bagging coterie in Garland County, has filed to create a ballot question committee, Arkansans Against Big Government, to attempt to overturn the law. If his group gets the signatures, it will be continued employment for the enormous big business combine that spelled success for this legislation. More here. The attorney general must approve a ballot question first, then some 46,000 signatures will be needed.
* AND YOU SAY YOU THOUGHT THE LEGISLATURE DEFEATED OPEN CARRY: Thanks to Theodosius for pointing me to Act 746, by Rep. Denny Altes (a tipoff to craziness for sure) and others such as Bullet Bob Ballinger. Styled as a "technical correction" to laws governing handgun possession, it might have done a good bit more. Or so the gun lobby apparently believes. It gets into the long-running dispute about whether it is legal to carry a weapon on a "journey." The new law now says, carrying a weapon (concealed or unconcealed) is legal if
The person is on a journey beyond the county in which the person lives, unless the person is eighteen (18) years of age or less;.
And what is a journey?
"Journey" means travel beyond the county in which a person lives
So, does this mean a Bryant resident can holster up for her journey to Little Rock to work as a clerk in, say, the motor vehicle license office on Main Street in Little Rock. And continue to holster it all day, unless her place of work otherwise prohibits guns?
Or maybe a carload of Cabotians can strap on shooting irons when they motor down to Little Rock to stroll along President Clinton Avenue and take in the scenery in the River Market, again being careful to observe which premises do and do not allow weapons inside.
There is no emergency clause, so at least we won't have any legal challenges of this issue at this year's Riverfest. The law won't take effect until mid-August. A whole lot more is to come on this topic, I'd guess, including inevitable court disputes. You may recall that the gun lovers community got all bent out of shape when House Speaker Davy Carter said the open carry bill was a bill too far in a session that otherwise elevated guns above all except the zygote. This bill also struck the part of the law that made it a misdemeanor to carry a weapon into a place that sells alcoholic beverages.
It's messy of course. Suppose it is legal for a Cabotian to pack heat openly in Little Rock. Once back in the confines of the home county, it would not be. The folks over at Arkansas Carry are beside themselves with joy, you can see from the link and the photo above they've posted on their webpage.
UPDATE: A lawyer throws this constitutional question into the mix:
It would be unconstitutional for e.g., non-PuCo residents to be able to open carry and PuCo's not because the non-PuCo's are on a "journey."
Therefore, does it make "open carry" lawful as to everybody?
I think that is essentially the open carry crowd's argument.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the well-funded group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is seriously considering a months-long television, radio and direct-mail campaign against Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, one of four Democrats who opposed expanding a background check for guns.
The goal: Make an example of him.
Senior members of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns met at length Sunday to debate potential responses to the failure of President Obama’s gun regulation package, including a watered-down background check provision that fell five votes short.
...The broader goal of the Bloomberg group is to provide a political counterweight to the National Rifle Association which has had virtually unmitigated influence over Congress since 1994, when Democrats lost control of the House and blamed then-President Clinton’s assault-weapons ban.
The Bloomberg group is mulling a variety of messages and methods for Arkansas. One approach would be to target reliable Democratic voters, including African Americans, with advertising that calls out Pryor for “opposing the president’s agenda,” the official said. Another would be to expand the campaign to suburban women and other moderates. The campaign might not be limited to the issue of guns.
“Money would not be an object,” the official said, adding that a decision on whether to target Pryor would come soon and that action against other Democrats is still possible.
I stick with what I said to Fournier yesterday. A general election effort against Pryor only yields the worst possible outcome for progressive political forces, election of an even worse Republican. It is hard, too, to imagine success for a campaign supporting a liberal Democratic alternative to Pryor in the primary, presuming such an alternative presented itself. None is evident at the moment. And should such a candidate surface, he or she would be unlikely to have the organizational skills, personal money and huge labor support that Bill Halter had in his race for U.S. Senate against Blanche Lincoln. And Lincoln still won. But the damage done was no help in her losing November general election campaign.
A Bloomberg campaign against Pryor would just be a grievous wound in their own foot, seems to me.
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