Oklahoma City, OK – For the second time this legislative session, Gov. Brad Henry has vetoed legislation exempting buyers of Oklahoma-made guns from federal criminal background checks and other regulatory safeguards.
In his veto message today, the governor said House Bill 2994 was essentially the same bill as Senate Bill 1685. He vetoed that legislation last month on grounds that it would make it easier for criminals to obtain a wide array of weapons in Oklahoma and endanger citizens and law enforcement in the process. Law officers expressed similar concerns about the bill.
"I'm a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and have earned an A rating from the NRA, but this legislation does nothing to protect an individual's right to bear arms," reiterated Gov. Henry. "What is does do is endanger citizens and law enforcement officers. It abolishes common sense regulations like background checks and gives criminals easy access to a wide array of weapons. This law would harm Oklahomans, not protect them. "
The governor said the measure also would put the state in court again. Because there would be no way to guarantee that Oklahoma-made guns would remain in state, he said the law would violate the Interstate Commerce Act and be declared unconstitutional.
"Any state effort to selectively ignore federal laws will certainly draw a legal challenge and result in a costly court battle that the state cannot win," said Gov. Henry. "It simply makes no sense to continue to pass unconstitutional measures that run up legal bills and waste taxpayers' money."
VETO MESSAGE - HB 2994
This legislation is essentially identical to SB 1685, which I vetoed earlier this session. As a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and the holder of an A rating from the National Rifle Association, I have consistently supported and approved laws that preserve and strengthen an individual's constitutional right to bear arms. This legislation does nothing to enhance 2nd Amendment protections and its unintended consequences are more likely to produce benefits for criminals in Oklahoma and potentially disastrous results for the state's law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens. By exempting Oklahoma-manufactured guns and ammunitions from federal law, this measure would enable criminals to obtain a wide array of weaponry, including fully automatic machine guns, without undergoing a simple criminal background check or meeting other basic federal requirements. Oklahoma would likely become a safe haven for domestic and international offenders seeking to elude federal gun safeguards and obtain weapons of all kinds. In the final analysis, this legislation would endanger law enforcement officers and citizens without doing anything to strengthen an individual's right to bear arms. Furthermore, because there is no way to ensure Oklahoma-manufactured weapons will remain in the state, this legislation violates the interstate commerce clause and is unconstitutional. Any state effort to selectively ignore federal laws will certainly draw a legal challenge and result in a costly court battle that the state cannot win.