AR attorney general candidate stands behind 'stand your ground' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

AR attorney general candidate stands behind 'stand your ground' laws

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WEST MEMPHIS, AR -

(WMC-TV) - David Sterling could be the next attorney general for Arkansas. And he is behind a push to bring the controversial "stand your ground" law to the state.

More than 20 states have "stand your ground" laws including Tennessee and Mississippi, but not Arkansas. The law was discussed a lot in coverage of the George Zimmerman trial.

"If I'm out there with my grand kids or my kids, I'm going to protect them with whatever it takes to protect them," said Terry Parrish, who lives in Arkansas.

An Arkansas Republican candidate for attorney general wants to help people like Terry Parrish do just that with a "stand your ground" law.

"I think it's important that Arkansas law favor the law abiding citizen rather than be on the side of the criminal, which in my opinion what it is right now," said Sterling.

Arkansas is the only southern state without the law.

"Stand your ground law is essentially a law saying you don't have a duty to retreat if you feel that you're in imminent danger of death or severe bodily injury," explained attorney Blake Ballin.

In Arkansas, you have a duty to retreat or flee from conflict when you feel threatened unless you are in your home or surrounding property. That is the Castle Doctrine. If someone comes in your home, you can shoot them. The "stand your ground" law allows residents to do that just about anywhere.

"I think 'stand your ground' is actually a bad idea because it encourages people to be vigilantes it encourages deadly encounters that are not necessary," said University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy.

Arkansas resident Essie Bingham agrees.

"I don't think we should have a 'stand your ground' law. I think that makes it too wide open door to problems," she said.

Arkansas legislators have talked about "stand your ground" laws but have never passed them. David Sterling is running for attorney general in next year's election.

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