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story.lead_photo.caption Rep. Nicole Clowney (right) , D-Fayetteville, is shown asking questions during a House session at the capitol in Little Rock. Representatives, from left, Bruce Coleman and Steve Hollowell, listen in. - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

House Republicans on Tuesday sunk a measure that would have given local and state law enforcement authority to enforce federal gun laws on convicted domestic abusers.

The legislation, House Bill 1655 by Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-Fayetteville, was defeated 35-38, needing 51 votes for passage. Democrats, joined by about a dozen Republicans, voted for the measure, which came out of committee last week with little opposition.

The bill would mirror federal law in making it a state offense for someone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to own a gun. Clowney said the Arkansas State Police cannot enforce that law other than to call federal authorities.

"A vote against this bill amounts to a vote to protect domestic abusers who are in violation of federal law," Clowney said in a text message after the failed vote.

On the House floor, however, several Republicans questioned whether Clowney's bill would have created a new pathway toward seizing guns.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

In the House Judiciary Committee last week, the only person who could be heard voting against the bill was Rep. Cindy Crawford, R-Fort Smith. She spoke against the bill on the House floor Tuesday, saying she feared HB1655 would set a "precedent for a misdemeanors taking away gun rights."

Four other committee members voted against the bill on the House floor.

One member, Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, said he had spoken with other lawmakers after the bill got out of committee and they raised additional concerns.

"What if you've got a vindictive spouse and they're using this as a way to get back at someone?" Smith said, further explaining that a spouse could make a claim of domestic abuse as a way to strip his partner of a weapon.

But Rep. Douglas House, R-North Little Rock, who voted for the bill Tuesday, said his colleagues raise a nearly identical scenario, but he still supported the bill because of an amendment added by Clowney.

That amendment would have created an avenue for people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions to have their records sealed and their gun rights restored. The state police testified in committee that because there is no state prohibition of gun possession by people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, there is no path for them to restore their federal gun rights.

"This bill is not intended to punish anyone for life," Clowney said.

Clowney said Tuesday she was unsure whether she would attempt to revive the bill this session.

In 2016, Arkansas ranked fourth in the nation in the homicide rate of female victims, according to a report by the Violence Policy Center. Most of those murders were committed by boyfriends or spouses using a gun, the report found.

A Section on 03/20/2019

Print Headline: Gun ban for domestic abusers fails


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Archived Comments

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 10:29 a.m.

    Good man L.R.ATTY
    Say it loud say it proud.

  • RBear
    March 20, 2019 at 10:36 a.m.

    Libertarian I can't kill someone with my "vote." What's your point?

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 10:39 a.m.

    "voting never killed anybody"....
    this is the party of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Adolph Hitler, Chairman Mao, etc. lololololololol

  • Popsmith
    March 20, 2019 at 11:03 a.m.

    Sounds like it's still okay to use the old traditional wife beating.

  • RBear
    March 20, 2019 at 11:18 a.m.

    barefoot there's a reason I ignore most of your comments and this one just solidified the reasoning. You flood these boards with senseless drivel, expecting people to believe every idiotic statement you make. My guess is you aren't capable of being around rational folks.

  • RobertBolt
    March 20, 2019 at noon

    Some of the argument against this bill centers around the idea that wife beating is not all that big a deal to sportsmen. Maybe we need more wives in the legislature, so we can hear how important it is to them for their husbands to have a deer rifle nearby.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 12:09 p.m.

    so when i mention that sexism is rampant you call me a nutcase.
    but every time you open your mouth about sex statistic you assume men are the perps..
    why listen to lies and falsehood???

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.

    rbear most of what you do is address others with disrespect.
    take armnar and your whole crew and stfu because im the one for you.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 12:16 p.m.

    you pathetic "toadie"
    you attack people and not their content all the while projecting venomous bile hither and tither, like a fungal life form spraying the air to repel predators.
    all your friends seem to have meth and "Crackers" on their tongue.
    smiling faces, bloody traces. i got the whip and i earned my paces.
    if you cant toe than you ought-ta know.
    i'm the one
    for you

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 20, 2019 at 12:19 p.m.

    Hey Robert Bolt, I guess Jan Morgan just ate too much woman power-O's for your liking?