Proposed Arkansas bill would allow convicted felons to possess firearms

KY3's Noah Tucker reports.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:21 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - A house bill filed in the Arkansas State Legislature would establish a path to restore the right to possess a firearm.

Arkansas State Representative Vivian Flowers, a Democrat in the 17th District, filed House Bill 1013. It provides a pathway for convicted felons to regain the right to possess and own firearms after serving the entirety of a sentence, followed by an additional 10-year span. Arkansas law states that no person shall possess or own any firearm if convicted of a felony.

“The bill seeks to restore the right to possess and own a firearm to felons, or ex-felons, I prefer to say, of felons of non-violent offenses,” said State Rep. Flowers.

A felon convicted of homicide, kidnapping, rape, or terroristic threats would not be eligible.

“This is a wonderful, I think, bipartisan bill that is not only a bill that speaks towards 2nd Amendment rights but also of the second chance of criminal justice reform,” State Rep. Flowers told KY3.

State Rep. Flowers says the bill’s initiation followed several stories shared by her constituents.

“(For a crime) so many years ago, today he can’t hunt with his kids, he can’t own and possess a gun to protect his home, his kids, or to protect his business,” she said when describing individual cases.

State Rep. Flowers says legislators backing the bill felt the need to preview it for others before returning to session next week, saying initial reactions seem good.

“I view it as a constitutional right, and I believe that all gun laws are an infringement on your constitutional right,” said Kevin Moore, owner of 76 Arms and Ammunition in Harrison.

Moore is a veteran and says any felon who has paid the price deserves all the constitutional rights of a normal citizen.

“Once you serve your time in jail and you’ve paid your price to society, I don’t believe you should lose your 2nd Amendment constitutional right,” he said. “If they deem that you’re not a threat to society and you’re released from jail, why do you lose your constitutional rights? You don’t lose your right to freedom, another constitutional right. So why is the second amendment any different?”

The legislature meets again in Little Rock next week.

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