THOROUGH BUT: Gov. Asa Hutchinson said this Democrat-Gazette story on gun deaths in the state was thorough, but it apparnelty didn't move him to support gun safety legislation.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson was asked today about recent reporting on the high rate of gun deaths in Arkansas and he made it clear he has little enthusiasm for most ideas on gun safety legislation.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported over the weekend that Arkansas ranks 7th in the country in gun deaths per capita, but that there was little legislative interest in a range of gun safety legislation being considered in other states.


He said he’d read the story, said it was well-reported. But he also touted a violent crime task force he urged to address gun crime in Central Arkansas. The gun violence statistics are not dominated by Central Arkansas, however.

He said he wanted state “databases” to be accurate and he said there was some interest in so-called “red flag” laws that would allow a court proceeding to prevent people who’ve exhibited a potential for harm from having weapons. But he said this law would have to be accompanied by adequate “due process protections.”


Otherwise, he said, the laws being discussed would have little impact on gun violence — a position many dispute. He said others were “non-starters” because “they infringe on the rights of legitimate gun owners.”

He was not specific. He cut the discussion short as off-topic during an economic development announcement, but it bears further study. Hutchinson, who’s been a spokesman for the NRA, seems to invoke a 2nd Amendment argument against gun safety laws, but they are in place in other states, including the four states with the lowest gun death rates. The laws listed in the Democrat-Gazette reporting:


• Require a background check for every gun purchase. 17 states do this.

• Institute a waiting period for the purchase of a gun. Of course it deters crimes of passion.

• Demand safe storage of firearms. Of course this could reduce accidents, suicides and thefts that lead to gun crimes.

• Mandate the reporting of lost and stolen guns.


• Allow court orders to temporarily seize guns from people deemed to pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. This is the red-flag law, the only one Hutchinson expressed any warmth toward.