A furious Arkansas state Sen. Stephanie Flowers blasted a colleague for trying to cut short debate on a controversial “stand your ground” gun measure. The black Democrat told members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee that she loved her children as much they loved theirs and that the law posed a threat to her 27-year-old son’s life.
“Stand your ground” laws allow gun owners to use deadly force in the name of self-defense. Florida officials debated last year before arresting a man who fatally shot an unarmed father of three during an altercation over a parking space.
Three Republican Arkansas senators have sponsored a measure that would remove a clause from the current state law that mandates a “duty to retreat” in self-defense cases. The removal of that clause would effectively allow gun owners to stand their ground in the face of a perceived threat.
“I am the only person here of color. I am a mother, too, and I have a son,” Flowers said Wednesday during committee debate over the bill. “And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’all’s. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.”
She added: “You don’t have to worry about your children. ... I worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls. And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they have open-carry rights walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse.”
When Republican committee chair Alan Clark told her she had to stop talking, she refused. “What the hell you going to do, shoot me?” she demanded. “Go to hell. I’m telling you, this deserves more attention.”
The measure was defeated, 4-3, but it may be reintroduced next week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Arkansas, Virginia and Maryland are the only three states in the South where the law still requires some duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Watch Flowers tell it like it is in the video above.