A speech by Arkansas state senator Stephanie Flowers that highlights the dangers black children face because of pro-gun laws is receiving accolades, especially since she may have helped defeat the legislation.
Flowers, a Democrat from Pine Bluff, spoke forcefully Wednesday at a judiciary committee hearing that considered ending Arkansas's "duty to retreat" law and effectively putting in place a "stand your ground" law. Such legislation would allow citizens to use lethal force when responding to a perceived threat, instead of just walking away.
Flowers said such laws put the lives of African-Americans in harm's way — and that she fears every day for her son in Arkansas, a state that already rabidly embraces gun culture.
At the hearing, Republicans tried to end debate on the bill.
"I care as much for my son as much as y'all care for y'alls," Flowers said to the all-white Republican members. "But my son doesn't walk the same path that yours does. So this debate deserves more time... I worry about my son. And I worry about all the other little Black boys and girls."
Flowers criticized her peers who carry guns inside the Senate chamber.
When Flowers was told to stop speaking, she erupted. "No, I don't! What the hell you gonna do? Shoot me?"
After the senator shut off her mic, she shouted, "Do what the hell you wanna do. But you can't silence me!"
The pro-gun legislation ended up narrowly failing, by a 4-3 vote, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Watch Flowers's incredible speech below.
State Sen. Stephanie Flowers had a powerful and emotional response to a white lawmaker trying to silence her in a debate on Arkansas' ‘stand your ground’ gun laws pic.twitter.com/aZ1OQg2mOs
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 8, 2019