FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Two gun-safety studies proposed by a Northwest Arkansas state representative were rejected by the Arkansas Legislative Council.
In the weeks following recent mass shootings, state lawmakers brought up measures like red flag laws. With the rejected study proposals, it appears the state is no nearer to implementing firearm law changes.
The studies, proposed by Rep. Denise Garner (D), would have looked at two elements: whether the state should implement background checks for private-party gun sales and whether restraint holsters should be required for concealed carry.
“Quite frankly, I’m disappointed that we are not able to even study something that has been proven effective nationwide in preventing gun violence,” said Amy Gillespie, a Moms Demand Action volunteer. “Moms Demand Action is a pro-Second Amendment organization. We believe in common-sense solutions to gun violence, and what Rep. Garner was proposing was simply a study.”
State Sen. Bob Ballinger (R) was a part of the group that ultimately voted down Garner’s measures, citing a commitment to Second-Amendment rights.
“It really is politics. I mean, that’s what it is,” Ballinger said. “She’s trying to get her base excited about an election and stir people up, and that’s kinda what she did.”
Ballinger said his constituents are leery of any changes in the state’s firearm policy due to the fear of government overreach, and he referenced mandatory buy-back policies as an example of this possibility.
“[My constituents] see that is coming from a national level, and they’re concerned about that,” Ballinger said. “So, the way I would say it, the answer is yes, [they are afraid of the government taking their guns]. However, most of my constituents are extremely reasonable people.”
Gillespie said there shouldn’t be anything alarming about a study since it doesn’t constitute a law change.
“A hundred lives are taken by gun violence every day in America, and frankly it’s irresponsible to not even study the things that have been shown to be effective such as background checks and red flag laws,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie said she hopes the movement toward gun-safety measures continues despite Garner’s failed attempt to sway the Arkansas Legislative Committee.