Lawmakers discuss changes to clubs, bars 2 months after Power Ultra Lounge shooting

ABC, lawmakers discuss potential bar changes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It’s been just over two months since the mass shooting at the Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock and now state agencies are working together to prevent anything like this from happening again.

After the shooting we looked into the bar's past and found several police reports, many of them involved alcohol issues.

On Tuesday, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board met with several state agencies and representatives to get started on a new action plan for problem clubs and bars. They hope a new plan will improve the current system and take action faster.

“We knew there were some issues at that club," said ABC Director Boyce Hamlet. "It's not that we did not know because I had conversations with the Little Rock's Vice Unit and they had some concern with it and we met with them on it but it never rose to the level of where we could pull a permit.”

One option suggested to possibly help was to turn in all police reports from bars and clubs to the ABC but the director of the Arkansas Sheriffs Association, Mike Godfrey, said that could bring in an overwhelming amount of information.

“It could be a husband and wife fighting in the parking lot because she danced with an old boyfriend, now true they were drinking in the establishment, and true it spilled out into the parking lot, but there's 550 to 570 law enforcement agencies and if every one of them turns in 2 reports a month, you're going to get an extra thousand reports a month. I don't want to have to crunch that data but it could be a tremendous amount of data,” said Godfrey.

Either way, everyone at the meeting agreed they wanted a fix.

“If there was more information that was provided to the ABC board and allowed them to be more involved in the process then maybe it'd give them the ability to step in and intervene even before they have to shut a club down or may redirect a club in the right direction,” said State Representative Bob Ballinger.

This is just the first of many meetings, the group said they wanted to get started so they could be ready to make changes to the law come January.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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