This is an interesting little legislative debate:
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 [ATF].
It looks like Fallin’s argument is that the Oklahoma doesn’t have the authority to regulate the ATF, which is probably accurate. But should the ATF even exist? If Fallin thinks the ATF is legitimate, her position makes sense. But since the federal government is overstepping its bounds every day, should a government challenge the constitutionality of the federal bureaucracy?
It’s an important question: Should a politician sign legislation they think could be considered unconstitutional by the courts, or unconstitutional, period? I tend to say “No,” because the constitutionality of something should be decided by a politician before a vote, since an elected official has the oath to uphold the Constitution.
But I’m open to being convinced otherwise. Thoughts?