By Patrick B. McGuigan | Oklahoma Watchdog
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate voted unanimously Thursday to override Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of House Bill 2461. Coming just days after similar action in the state House, it was the first time the Republican-dominated Legislature reversed a veto from the GOP governor.
After saying for days an override attempt was unlikely, Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, allowed Majority Floor Leader Mike Schultz, R-Altus, to schedule a vote on the bill, a measure ardently supported by gun rights’ groups.
In his weekly briefing for Capitol reporters, Bingman said he and other supporters of the legislation hoped for an alternative to enact its provisions, thereby avoiding a veto showdown with Fallin.
With adjournment required by May 30, senators were persuaded they had no alternative as the number of “live rounds” — measures that can still be amended — steadily declines in the final days of each legislative session.
Senators voted, 39-0, to reverse Fallin. The House overrode the chief executive, 86-3, last week. As a result, the measure will become law, taking effect Nov. 1.
Fallin quickly released a statement on the override, saying House Bill 2461 “makes it easier to sell and transfer restricted firearms and accessories like silencers, which is fine.”
Fallin, in the past a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, repeated her rationale for the 15 vetoes she issued last week , calling her actions “an attempt to refocus the attention of the Legislature on important issues facing this state that have been left unaddressed.
“Those issues include: the need to support local communities seeking to build storm shelters in schools; the need to repair our crumbling state Capitol; addressing our unfunded and fiscally unstable pension system; working to reduce the crisis of prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma; and delivering a responsible, balanced budget that funds core areas of government such as education appropriately while delivering targeted pay raises to some state employees. Those issues remain unaddressed and time is running out.”
The co-authors of HB 2461 are state Rep. Mike Turner, R-Oklahoma City, and state Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow. In sum, the measure will require local law enforcement officers to execute requests from law-abiding gun owners to buy firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act – dubbed “nfas” among gun owners.
The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association and other pro-gun groups, including the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, backed the bill and pressed for the override.
Dahm thanked colleagues for their vote, telling reporters, “If you have the right to lawfully own a firearm, then that right should be absolute.”
President Pro Temp Bingman said, “Oklahomans are staunch advocates of the Second Amendment. The Senate’s unanimous vote reflects the will of Oklahoma citizens that we should do everything in our power to defend and uphold those rights.
Democratic leaders in both chambers – Sen. Sean Burrage of Claremore, and Scott Inman of Del City — supported Bingman and House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview in the override effort.
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