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Pro-gun group leads revolt, OK House overrides governor’s veto

By   /   May 1, 2014  /   No Comments

By Patrick B. McGuigan | Oklahoma Watchdog

OKLAHOMA CITY – The state House of Representatives on Wednesday voted, 87-3, to enact a pro-gun measure — one of the 15 House bills Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed Tuesday.

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FALLIN OVERRIDE? The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted last night, 87-3, to override Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of a measure supported by Second Amendment advocates. The state Senate has not yet scheduled an override attempt. 

Leading the charge for the override was the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association and founder-president Tim Gillespie. In lockstep with the group, at least on this issue, was the legislative Democrat most likely to oppose Fallin in the November general election.

In an interview with Oklahoma Watchdog, Gillespie said the legislation was certainly not, as the governor said in her veto messages, of “no significant interest” to Oklahomans.

If ultimately enacted over Fallin’s veto, the proposal — which had cleared both chambers of the Legislature almost unanimously (only one opposing vote, in the House) — will allow law-abiding citizens to purchase automatic weapons, silencers and other gun-related devices collectively known as “Nfas,” after securing a federal “tax stamp” allowing ownership.

On final passage just two weeks ago, House Bill 2461, cleared the Senate 46-0. Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, has not said whether he would schedule an override over in the upper chamber.

Gillespie said HB 2461 aimed to restore the ability of law-abiding individuals to obtain the stamp so long as a background check was passed. Chief local law enforcement officers have delayed applications or, with encouragement from the Obama administration, not running the background checks, Gillespie said.

In her brief veto message, Fallin asserted H.B. 2461 attempted to regulate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

However, Gillepsie said, “This bill had absolutely nothing to do with the ATF or FBI. It regulated the chief LEO.”

State Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, supported the measure when it passed initially. Dorman, seeking the Democratic party nomination for governor in the June 24 primary, has an A-plus rating from the Oklahoma Rifle Association, the NRA affiliate.

Wednesday evening, in response to Oklahoma Watchdog’s questions, Dorman said, “Mary Fallin’s veto once again shows she chose politics over the rights of gun owners. Her action on this bill treated Second Amendment supporters as insignificant and unimportant.”

Dorman characterized the wave of vetoes early this week as a “gubernatorial temper tantrum.”

The rural Democrat previously joined the conservative push for repeal of the Common Core curriculum. After backing Common Core previously, Fallin has issued an executive order protecting the state’s curriculum control, and has supported repeal of the controversial curriculum.

Gillespie said he and OK2A’s vice president discussed the bill and two other vetoed measures with the governor’s staff, explaining the focus on “LEOs” should not be confused with federal agencies.

In a widely distributed release Tuesday, Gillespie said Fallin’s decision to veto the Second Amendment bills in a conservative state during an election year was “the definition of stupid.”

The lead sponsor of H.B. 2461 is state Rep. Mike Turner, R-Oklahoma City. He is one of several candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the Fifth Congressional District.

The other vetoes that upset Second Amendment supporters are H.B. 3367, relating to sale and importation of knives, and H.B. 2539, a measure addressing what activists call “archaic” language concerning the use of deadly force in  self-protection. Fallin described both measures as serving “no significant interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.”

You may contact Pat at pmcguigan@watchdog.org .

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Patrick B. McGuigan is bureau chief for the Oklahoma City Bureau of Watchdog.org, and works from the press room at the state Capitol. He is also the editor of CapitolBeatOK, and Associate Publisher of The City Sentinel newspaper. In 2013, The Washington Post blog “The Fix” designated Pat one of the best reporters in Oklahoma. In addition to the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists, where he serves as state secretary-treasurer, Pat is a member of the National Press Club and the Tulsa Press Club.