State Sen. Stephanie Flowers, D- Pine Bluff, on Monday addressed the minor celebrity status she experienced over the weekend as her angry response to a proposed stand-your-ground bill was viewed more than 10 million times online.
The senator concluded her statement on Monday by saying she would not apologize for her "passion and emotion," which triggered the viral response.
Some Republicans in the Senate had hinted on Twitter that action should be taken to censure Flowers, though Senate President Pro-Tempore Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, said Monday he would not support such action.
Flowers said she was encouraged by the support she said she received from every state in the South, where laws allowing the use of deadly force without a "duty to retreat" are nearly ubiquitous. Opponents of such laws, including Flowers, say they lead to higher rates of violence against black people.
In remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, Flowers spoke against a "stand-your-ground" bill by state Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and began to raise her voice after several committee members moved to limit the debate as the meeting dragged on into the evening.
"My son doesn't walk the same path as yours does," Flowers said. "This debate deserves more time."
When the committee chair tried to tell Flowers to stop, she responded, "No I don't. What the hell are you going to do, shoot me?"
Later in the meeting, Flowers suggested that she and members of her Pine Bluff community would "invoke" the stand-your-ground law if it passed and lawmakers showed up in the city carrying their own guns.
Ballinger also spoke from the floor of the Senate Monday, saying he would not move to censure Flowers but calling her remarks "not justifiable."
Ballinger's stand-your-ground bill, Senate Bill 484, failed on a vote Wednesday, but is back on the agenda for a Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled for later Monday.
Check back for updates and read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.