Senate votes to overturn gun ‘sovereignty’ law veto
The Senate today voted 21-12 to override Governor Hutchinson’s veto on legislation to prevent state enforcement of federal gun laws. The fate of SB 298 now turns to the House, which adjourned for the day. It is due to meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Arkansas prosecutors and the Game and Fish Commission were among those who insisted that the veto be upheld. And the waiver came after heated debate that indicated some believed a waiver would not be attempted in favor of amending the bill to address issues cited by sheriffs, prosecutors and others.
Senator Gary Stubblefield, sponsor of the bill, urged a waiver, saying he had a new bill that would correct problems with his original bill, which penalizes law enforcement officials who enforce the law and prohibits cooperation with federal authorities on crimes committed with firearms. A key objection has been that hundreds of pending cases could be wiped out by the new law and Stubblefield said he had an amendment to avoid that potential.
This bill has not been introduced. Stubblefield said it would.
Senator Missy Irvin said gun owners have expressed concerns about his bill because of fears of losing licenses if they don’t collect a federal tax, as the bill provides. Stubblefield said the matter was also under investigation and his amendment would remove penalties for state and local law enforcement officials who cooperate with the federal government on serious crimes.
President of the Senate Jimmy Hickey said he thought Stubblefield had agreed to amend his bill and not seek the waiver. He said some 800 outstanding gun cases could collapse if the original bill passes as is.
“It could have dire consequences for our citizens,” Hickey said.
It was taken over by Senator Jonathan Dismang who said the law could endanger dozens of recently charged gun cases in White County. He said he understood the bill was going to be amended in the House, but it was not. He said there was no guarantee that the problems would be solved by a bill that was not even tabled.
Hickey and others took to a gallery filled with lobbyists and gun rights advocates and said he was an original supporter of the bill and strong in the 2nd Amendment. But in its current form, it has too many problems.
Meaning. Alan Clark, Terry Rice and Mark Johnson called for a waiver of the veto. Rice said the federal government was “coming for weapons.” They all said that opponents had the opportunity to testify in committee. Rice also suggested that the governor appeared to be “over time” by waiting until the fifth day after receiving the bill to veto it.
Senator Jim Hendren said on day 106 of the session it was time to go home and not file a new bill. He said the sheriffs appeared to oppose the bill and even the sponsors acknowledged the bill had constitutional issues.
“We were told that the federal government was going to come and collect your weapons. I don’t think that’s going to happen, ”he said. But he said he knew some cases would be at risk and some people who should be prosecuted will not. “This is a bad bill… The last thing we have to do is overturn this veto out of pride.”
Senator Bob Ballinger says voters say, “Protect me from DC” Whether it’s a legitimate fear or not, he said, is what they feel. He also argued that the suspension allowed the legislature to pass the new bill. Hickey said that was not true under the deal for the break. Ballinger said a majority vote could change that.
Senator Missy Irvin said she out of deference to Stubblefield withdrew from tabling a bill to correct a problem that a sheriff in her district recognized when pursuing outstanding cases. She said she would table it today to demonstrate that there was a passion to correct the problems with the bill. Ballinger had argued that failure to override the veto could allow the bill to die.
Stubblefield said the legislature could stay in session until Friday under a joint resolution and not suspend Tuesday as scheduled.