"Stand Your Ground" Law
Two years ago, the Stand Your Ground bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Burris and supported by ARCCA and many others. This bill did not pass, and in hindsight, it is very good that it did not. ARCCA has spent the past two years in exhaustive research on the Castle Doctine laws and cases here in Arkansas, and have come to the unequivocal conclusion that our current laws are outstanding and require no changes. We have spoken with dozens of Arkansas prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, and looked at the bulk of case law to identify any vicious prosecutions criminalizing individuals claiming self-defense. The results are explained below...
The Castle Doctrine has two parts, the ability to defend yourself inside your home (Castle Doctrine) and the ability to defend yourself outside your home (Stand Your Ground). Arkansas criminal statute 5-2-620 codifies our Castle Doctrine and it's very straightforward and easy to read...after doing so you will see that it offers tremendous protection and gives an unprecedented benefit-of-the-doubt to the home owner. It speaks for itself and there is no other state in the union that can boast a better Castle Doctrine than Arkansas.
The Stand Your Ground protection is primarily codified in Arkansas criminal statute 5-2-607. Much of the push two years ago was to remove the duty to retreat of a citizen who is attacked. Let us first look at the exact duty retreat requirement in this statute. Our duty to retreat has two very important caveats. The first is that the individual must know that he can retreat, and the second is that he must know he can retreat with complete safety... not some or a predominate amount of, but complete safety. These two caveats provide exceptional legal protection for the individual using deadly force in their self-defense because the prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person claiming self defense knew he could retreat and knew he could retreat with complete safety. This is almost an unsurmountable burden for the prosecution to overcome, and we have seen this in fact played out in the courts with few cases where individuals were found guilty for a failure to retreat. The few cases that exist are primarily with gang members killing each other...no loss there.
After this thorough review, ARCCA feels very confident that our laws and case law supports a phenomenal protection for individuals using self-defense for themselves and others and feels that any changes to the current laws (that have been on the books for over thirty years) would undermine this protection.