A politician tried to silence a black senator about gun crime and she wasn't having it

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Saturday 09 March 2019 12:15
news

A black senator delivered an impassioned speech on gun crime as Arkansas attempted to pass a bill that would make it easier to use lethal force in the name of self-defence.

The bill would eventually be voted down in a narrow 4-3 margin, but not before Stephanie Flowers condemned the state's Judiciary Committee after some members attempted to limit debate time on the issue.

Sponsored by three Republican state senators, it would remove a clause from the law that required a "duty to retreat" in self defence cases.

Flowers spoke about the perils of the bill, and the dangers it posed to minority communities, and African Americans in particular.

She said:

I am the only person of colour. I am a mother, too, and I have a son. I care as much for my son as y'all care for yours. But my son doesn't walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.

She went on to talk about her 27-year-old son, and pointed out that his experience as a black American was vastly different to that of a white American, and limiting debate on such an important topic was "crazy."

"You don't have to worry about your children...I have to worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls," she said.

And people coming into my neighbourhood, into my city, saying they have an open-carry rights walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse. That's a bully!

Flowers added that she felt "scared' by the idea of the bill, and talked about people who entered legislature while carrying guns under their coats.

She hadn't been able to speak for long before committee chairman, Republican senator Alan Clark interrupted her and quietly told her to, "stop talking."

"No I don't!" she retorted.

"Yes you do," Clark replied.

Flowers turned to him and said:

No I don't. What the hell you going to do, shoot me? This deserves more attention.

Eventually, Flowers left the committee room but later returned to hear people and groups, including the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police, speak out against the bill.

Flowers' powerful words were fitting for International Women's Day.

A recent study about the gun problem in America found that in 41 states in the country, black men are disproportionately killed by gun violence in comparison to white men.

It isn't over. The bill's primary sponsor will attempt to reintroduce the bill on Monday, NBC's KARK reported.

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