March 27, 2017

A Letter to Arkansas Constituents Regarding HB 1249

Dear Arkansas,

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1249 
into law . It allows for anyone with a concealed carry license ("CCL") who undergoes additional (minimal) training, to be allowed to bring a gun to a college campus, a church, most state grounds, and even bars. To watch the announcement follow this link.

There are exceptions to where someone can carry a gun. Someone can't bring a gun into a courtroom and if a bar or restaurant posts a physical sign prohibiting guns then they will not be allowed (a verbal decry will not be legally binding).
Legally savvy individuals will also note there are provisions of the law that permits someone to bring a gun to college sporting event (such as Razorback games) and into college dormitories. Furthermore if some private properties, such as a church, oppose the carrying of gun on their grounds, but lapses in posting a sign, the default is that people can bring a gun onto their private property. 

By and large, putting more guns into the hands of civilians only leads to more gun violence. There are numerous reports from the FBIThe United Nations (abridged version by The Guardian), the CDCHarvardJohns HopkinsStanford, and various news outlets such as Mother JonesThe Washington PostThe New York Times and The Guardian but this video below from Vox draws together a lot of studies and statistics in a brief 7 minute video to outline most of the problems our country faces with guns. 
Governor Hutchinson, Arkansas Rep. Collins and Sen. Garner are well-established cronies for the NRA. It isn't even a secret as the Governor paraded around NRA representative Chris Cox and even allowed him to speak at the Governor's press conference after the signing of HB 1249. 

I find it most disappointing that the wishes of police were less significant in this legislation's formulation than that of the NRA. A representative of our state police was only present at the press conference because they are required under HB 1249 to design and implement training requirements, not because they supported the bill. Several members of our law enforcement community spoke against the bill. To read more follow these links: (1) and (2)

Typically, police favor more sensible gun restrictions as they are the individuals who must deal with the threat of armed persons; permitting more citizens to carry weapons complicates an already difficult job. To read more follow these links: (1) and (2).

While the NRA might seem like a legitimate organization with people's best interests in mind, they have actually morphed (over the years) to being a resource for gun manufacturers to further inundate the country with more guns. It's not even a secret that Chris Cox and his organization want more people with more guns in more places across the nation. There are several organizations that have reported on the NRA's true intentions (President Bush Senior even quit the NRA over its outrageous tactics). 

This is a more lighthearted report:

Brief report:

Traditional print article:

Traditional news report:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/gunned-down/

There is a specific agenda that the NRA is trying to enact throughout the country as detailed in this NPR link.

The NRA is trying to end "gun-free" zones as we are seeing with HB 1249 in our state. 

The NRA has coerced federal congressmen into proposing a 'concealed carry reciprocity' bill which would mandate one state's CCL to be lawful in another state. 

This would negate the stringent training requirements some states have implemented to receive a CCL as an individual could merely travel to another state (like AR) with minuscule requirements to obtain a CCL before traveling back to their home state where their new CCL would be legally recognized. This is an early step in an incremental process towards pushing the country to the possibility of being an open-carry nation.  

Furthermore, the NRA is working towards silencers/suppressors being more easy to obtain. To read more follow these links: (1) and (2).

If the NRA aims to combat mass shootings as they claim when making the case for expanding concealed carry, then wouldn't it be counterproductive to then allow for individuals to obtain a device that eliminates early detection of an active shooter (a loud gunshot)?

In closing, this is one specific example within Arkansas (but is relevant nationally) to indicate that our state's Republican party is not beholden to the voters, but rather, special interests. Many citizens favor gun regulations that experts agree would improve our safety. Yet, in spite of data and facts establishing the harm this law will bring to our state, it will be enacted. The Republican party will not push for an agenda to better serve Arkansans but one to better serve organizations and business interests. 

Stop putting these people in positions of authority. 

Vote smart.

Vote often

The citizen who criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute
- J. William Fulbright 


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