Arkansas Law Maker Looks to Expedite Permits for Domestic Violence Survivors

In an effort to protect survivors of domestic violence, Arkansas senator Trent Garner (R-27), has begun drafting a bill that would expedite concealed carry permits for this group.

Although the bill will not be up for review until lawmakers are back in session, the intent of the bill is to provide a mechanism for these survivors to quickly obtain a concealed carry permit so that they can protect themselves in the aftermath of the violence they experienced.

“I’ve seen a lot of other states do this, and the thing that jumped out to me – we want to make sure these brave women and survivors don’t become a statistic, that we don’t come back and see that they were gravely injured or murdered when they could have protected themselves,” said Sen. Garner.

The bill would allow domestic violence survivors to participate in an expedited process to obtain their permits. While a background check would still apply, as would the associated fees for a permit, the required concealed carry training would be given a 45-day grace period. This would allow survivors to begin protecting themselves quickly, while also maintaining the standard of concealed carry training.

Sen. Garner points out there is some evidence to support the idea of providing survivors with guns in an expedited manner. “In testimony in Indiana, a firearm expert said that he had trained hundreds and hundreds of women and they all said the same thing, ‘He stopped coming for me when he saw the gun.’”

The will is likely to see some opposition from survivor advocates groups. The concern, as Angela McGraw, Executive Director of Women and Children First, comes from the willingness and ability of the survivor to protect themselves, and the reaction of the attacker.

“They get the gun, and the person that’s the perpetrator comes toward them or whatever, they’re going to beat the crap out of them just trying to get the gun from them. It’s going to be a worse beating than it was beforehand,” said McGraw.

Sen. Garner, however, is sensitive to the need for adjustment and open discussion around the bill, which is why he started drafting it so early. He has indicated a desire for feedback, and an openness to adjusting the training grace period if needed.

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