March 19th, 2013. House approves bill to ban gun restrictions in emergencies. John Lyon and Rob Moritz, Arkansas News Bureau.
“The House on Tuesday approved a bill that would remove the governor’s authority to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of firearms during an emergency.
Without debate, the House also approved legislation that would make it a crime to harm an unborn child from conception to birth.
The gun bill, House Bill 1819 by Rep. Charlotte Douglas, R-Alma, passed in a 78-9 vote.
Douglas said the bill is part of the National Rifle Association’s legislative package and is intended to ensure that Arkansans are able to defend themselves in times when the government may not be able to defend them.
“What I am asking you to vote on today is the preservation of a basic right for all Arkansans, you and I, to be able to defend our families and bear arms during emergencies,” Douglas told House members. “There is no emergency exception to the people’s Bill of Rights.”
Speaking against the bill, Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock, said it appeared to afford people opportunity to offer armed resistance in the event that the governor calls in the National Guard to restore order in an emergency.
“The idea cannot go forth from this chamber that the right to bear arms is a right to bear arms against this government,” he said.
Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said in an interview that the governor’s office is still reviewing the bill. He noted that Beebe has never exercised the authority that the bill would remove.
The bill goes to the Senate.”
“The House voted 76-10 to approve Senate Bill 417 by Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, which would change the definition of “unborn child” in criminal and wrongful death statutes.
Under current law, criminal charges and wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against a person who harms a fetus at 12 weeks or more of gestation. SB 417 would allow action against a person who harms an unborn child at any point from conception to birth.
The bill goes to the Senate for concurrence in a House amendment that added exemptions for certain situations, including contraception and in vitro fertilization procedures.”