Brogdon optimistic about overriding firearms freedom veto

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 03-May-2010

Governor Brad Henry last month vetoed Senate Bill 1685, the Firearms Freedom Act sponsored by state Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso. The Senate may attempt to override the governor’s veto, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

Brogdon’s bill would exempt buyers of Oklahoma-made guns from some federal regulatory steps. Gov. Henry, a Democrat, said the bill would make it easier for criminals to obtain a wide array of weapons in Oklahoma and endanger citizens and law enforcement officers in the process. S.B. 1685 would exempt Oklahoma-made ammunition from federal regulations.

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK on Monday (May 3), Sen. Brogdon said he was optimistic that Gov. Henry’s veto would be overridden. “My belief is we’ve got plenty of Second Amendment supporters to put this law into force over the governor’s veto,” he said. Brogdon’s optimism seems well-placed, as his bill garnered only three opposition votes in the first go-round.

In his veto message, copied to CapitolBeatOK, the governor said,

“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 legislation that preserves and strengthens an individual’s constitutional right to bear arms. Senate Bill 1685 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, SB 1685 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.”

The chief executive continued, “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, SB 1685 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.”

Brogdon, a Republican seeking his party’s nomination to replace Gov. Henry, said in a post-veto statement, “The governor claimed this bill would have given criminals ‘easy access’ to guns. That argument is absurd. Oklahoma law addresses this issue — convicted felons cannot own guns in our state.  The Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act would not have changed that state law.”

Brogdon continued, “What the governor fails to grasp is that for years, anti-Second Amendment politicians have been attempting to use federal regulation as a way to prevent any law abiding citizen from owning firearms.” Brogdon says his proposal, if enacted over Henry’s veto, will stop “further federal attempts to erode our Constitutional right to protect ourselves and our families.”

Brogdon’s post-veto statement, sent to CapitolBeatOK, continued, “The governor claims to be pro-life then vetoes pro-life bills. He claims to support the Second Amendment then vetoes legislation supporting it. Actions speak louder than words — what he says he believes and what he does don’t add up. This bill would have given Oklahomans greater protection for their right to keep and bear arms. I will do everything in my power to override this veto and make sure this bill becomes law.”

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.