by Max Brantley
“I am heartbroken and furious that gun violence has struck Little Rock again – this time as teenagers and young adults were enjoying a concert at a club just a stone’s throw from our state Capitol. Our clubs should not be battlefields and our city shouldn’t be home to shootouts. My heart goes out to all of those who have been injured, and I am thankful that they are all expected to survive. More than 90 Americans are shot and killed every day in America, and hundreds more are injured – it is past time for us to say that enough is enough. Right here in Little Rock, lawmakers have spent their time kowtowing to the gun lobby and weakening our gun laws instead of taking steps to make us all safer from gun violence. It’s unacceptable and we will not rest until this changes.”Gov. Asa Hutchinson also issued a statement:
"First and foremost, my thoughts are with the victims and their families this morning, and the First Lady and I are praying for their quick recovery. I also want to thank the first responders who no doubt saved lives with their quick action.Arkansas Stop the Violence, one of the longest and loudest voices about inner city crime, also issued a statement from Rev. Benny Johnson:
"Little Rock's crime problem appears to be intensifying. Every few days it seems a high profile shooting dominates the news, culminating with this morning's event. I have spoken this morning with Mayor Stodola and I have offered both my heart felt concern over this senseless violent tragedy and state assets as needed to address the continued threat of violence in our community.
“We are still gathering facts, but it is clear that we need to have a comprehensive enforcement strategy in place that helps take the violent threats off the streets. The state will participate and bring assets to the table to support local law enforcement efforts."
On Sunday July 2, 2017 at 3 p.m., Arkansas Stop the Violence at various pastors, city leaders and State Representative Fred Allen and Warwick Sabin will be having a press conference addressing concerns about violence that is going on in this city. It will be at the 12th St. police sub division, we would like for you all to come out. ... God bless you all and please help us take our city back by taking a stance against violence!!!It is hard to resist bitter commentary here. Just up the street, legislators keep pushing for legalizing guns in still more places in the name of safety — including permitted premises where booze is sold, not to mention the grounds immediately outside elementary school classrooms. By their lights, the problem is not enough guns.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the shooting that occurred in downtown Little Rock early this morning. Seventeen people were shot and others were injured as a result of the calamity caused by a shooter in an enclosed environment.
"We know all too well this has not been an isolated incident. We do not need to wait for the next tragedy to turn our heartbreak into action.
"The Democratic Party of Arkansas demands that our state and city leaders utilize their platforms to elevate the long overdue conversation about gun violence in our communities beyond traditional lip service.
"Too often gun violence is marginalized when it is referred to as "gang violence" or “black on black crime.” This prompts leaders to do a couple of community forums and call for instituting a no tolerance policy that ultimately becomes a de facto profiling initiative which furthers breeds mistrust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
"Gun violence is not simply a black issue or white issue. It is an issue that rips apart and strikes fear into every community.
"Our leaders should stand up to political pressure caused by special interest groups that do not want us to address this issue. We know that responsible gun ownership and use will NOT be limited by reasonable gun safety laws. We must also acknowledge the circumstances that lead to violence. By fighting poverty and working to address mental health and substance abuse issues, including opioids and methamphetamines, we can begin to combat all of the things that are destroying the lives of children and families across our state.”
"Prayers go to the innocent people and their family that came out to support me last night in Little Rock, Ark. The violence is not for the club people. We all come with one motive at the end of the day, and that's to have fun. Not to be hurt. So again, I send my condolences to the people who were hurt."