“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” 

Christmas is such an exciting time of year. My family loves the decorations, gifts, food, and family time that this season brings. It is a fun time of year, but we also try to remember why we celebrate. It is truly an amazing miracle that God became flesh, dwelt among us, and died in order to set us free and make us His children – that is worth celebrating!

Another State Recognizes the Right to Self-Defense

 by Brian McCombie - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

In Arkansas, “Stand Your Ground” legislation (S.B. 24) was recently passed by both houses of the Arkansas legislature and signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R). This NRA-backed legislation removes the legal need for a citizen to retreat in the face of an attacker. The previous legal standard in Arkansas required that a person under attack or threatened with attack must first attempt to flee or retreat before the person could use deadly force against his or her attacker.

While there were some exceptions to the current Arkansas law, some form of retreat was generally mandated before the intended victim could legally defend themselves. Immediately resorting to force in the face of an attack could (and did) land intended victims in court with various criminal and civil charges.

“This allows the leveling of the field, so everyone gets the same consideration when you go to that court of law,” Rep. Marcus Richmond (R) told the Associated Press.

“That’s the purpose of this self-defense bill, to allow you to defend yourself and not necessarily go to jail when you had no choice because you only had seconds to make that decision.”

“Laws should favor victims—not criminals, as they do now,” said Matt Herriman, NRA state director for Arkansas. “When crimes occur, victims have little time to decide the best course of action for survival. They should not be required to run away or face prosecution for defending themselves. This measure is common sense. Anyone who opposes it puts the interests of the criminal above the interests of the victim.”

“This important legislation is a huge step forward for self-defense rights and law-abiding gun owners in the Land of Opportunity! Thirty-four other states have passed Stand Your Ground laws allowing their citizens to more effectively protect themselves, instead of forcing unnecessary risks upon them. Senate Bill 24 specifically uses language similar to that of Florida’s law, which is seen as the gold-standard,” the NRA Institute for Legislative Action said.

“It is time that Arkansas move past the politics and provide clarity for good citizens who just wish to protect themselves and others,” said Sen. Bob Ballinger (R), as S.B. 24 moved through the legislative process. “Over the last few years, a group of legislators went to work with prosecutors, self-defense advocacy groups and law enforcement to craft the right stand your ground legislation for Arkansas.”

In his 2001 book, Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control, Florida State Professor of Criminology Gary Kleck addressed the efficacy of armed self-defense. When citing crime victimization data, Kleck determined that “[v]ictims who used guns were less likely to be injured than crime victims who did not resist.”

The practical ability of average Americans to meet violent crime with armed self-defense has improved substantially since Professor Kleck first began his research, as more and more states have improved access to concealed-carry permits, have added “Castle Doctrine” laws (legal doctrines that grant certain immunities to persons defending themselves within their abodes), and addressed Stand Your Ground issues.

NRA-ILA summed it up this way: “When presented with a reasonable threat of death or grievous bodily harm, free individuals have the right to defend themselves with deadly force. This right is inherent to all people, preexists any government and is not dependent upon the Second Amendment, which codifies the right to armed self-defense in the U.S. Constitution.”

OPINION | EDITORIAL: Union labels Another bill lawmakers should pass

It's not hard to figure out why there is so much opposition to collective bargaining, specifically when that bargaining is being done by government employees’ unions. Imagine being able to elect your own bosses, and their jobs depended on making you happy in your job, and nobody is spending their own money. Regular civilian taxpayers don’t get that kind of deal.

A committee in the state Senate passed Senate Bill 341 by Bob Ballinger (R-Ozark) earlier this week. Michael Wickline’s story said the bill passed in a voice vote “with no audible dissenters.” Yesterday, it passed the full Senate almost as smoothly. Now it’s onto the Arkansas House.

Sen. Ballinger says the bill applies to state-level governments such as agencies, departments and universities. Also the courts and—note well—school districts. (It would not apply to cities or counties.) Frustrated taxpayers have long watched teachers’ unions elect school boards and then negotiate with the people who owe their positions to those very same unions. It’s like negotiating salaries and benefits with yourself. It’s a nice gig if you can get it. Most people can’t. But most people, being taxpayers, certainly foot the bill(s).

The executive director of the Arkansas Education Association spoke out against the bill, which surprised few people. She said SB341 “directly targets our educators who have shown up every single day at schools and in every way possible teaching students, transporting them and serving them meals since the beginning of the pandemic, knowing they are putting themselves and their families at risk. They should be respected, not attacked.” Put aside, if you can, all those stories about teachers who—well before the pandemic—were considered “chronically absent.” Pre-covid-19, the papers noted that a considerable number of core teachers at J.A. Fair, Hall High and others would miss five days or more in a single school quarter.

But put that aside. This bill doesn’t “target” educators, or even their unions. Only the power of collective bargaining, which smart school districts are getting rid of anyway: “They can have a union,” Rep. Ballinger said. “They have their association. But as far as collective bargaining, we are prohibiting it from a policy standpoint as a state.” That is, if the Arkansas General Assembly approves and the governor signs. And they should.

School districts should work for the students first, then the community as a whole. Teachers are an important priority, but collective bargaining too often makes them the first priority, if not the only priority.

It’s going to take bold, determined, courageous action to take on the unions, even now. But that’s the nature of leadership. And education. And life.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Endorsement

“We have accomplished a lot here in Arkansas over the last few years and Representative Bob Ballinger is a big part of our success. Things are going in the right direction but we have a lot more work to do and I need Bob Ballinger in Little Rock to get it done.” - Governor Asa Hutchinson