Oklahoma House votes to override veto on gun-rights bill

Gov. Mary Fallin's veto of a popular gun rights bill to speed up NFA items is halfway to an override. (Photo credit: LA Times)

Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of a popular gun-rights bill to speed up NFA items is halfway to a full override. (Photo credit: LA Times)

A popular pro-gun bill that mandates timely processing of items regulated under the National Firearms Act had enough support in the Oklahoma House to override Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto by an 86-3 vote this week.

The measure, which had passed that body virtually unopposed on March 11, was vetoed by the Republican governor along with 14 other bills she considered be ‘minor issues.’

Wednesday’s override vote was the first time that the House had exercised that legislative process during the governor’s administration.

“The decision to take action was made with careful consideration and members ultimately voted to again protect Oklahomans’ Second Amendment rights,” said House Speaker Jeff Hickman, (R-Fairview).

“I made the Senate and Governor aware of our intent, and I expect our caucus and the House of Representatives to now continue our focus on the very important issues which remain before us prior to the end of this legislative session,” Hickman continued.

The bill, HB 2461, would have required the local Chief Law Enforcement Officer, or CLEO, to process all required documents by those intending to purchase National Firearms Act-regulated items such as suppressors and short-barreled rifles, within 15-days. This would prevent CLEOs from denying qualified, law-abiding Oklahoma residents the ability to legally possess and own Title II items for arbitrary reasons.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman, led that chamber in its first override vote of Gov. Fallin's administration. (Photo credit:  Joe Wertz/StateImpact Oklahoma)

House Speaker Jeff Hickman, led that chamber in its first override vote of Gov. Fallin’s administration. (Photo credit: Joe Wertz/StateImpact Oklahoma)

In her April 29 veto message against the legislation, Fallin cited that the measure was an effort to regulate a federal agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which in her opinion was spurious.

“The ATF is not required to follow the requirements of this bill. This bill serves no significant interest of the citizens of the State of Oklahoma,” the governor stated.

The legislation is strongly backed by the National Rifle Association and NFA industries trade groups like the American Silencer Association.

“The ASA strongly supports the Oklahoma House of Representatives veto override of House Bill 2461,” said Knox Williams, President of the ASA to Guns.com Friday.

“In doing so, the House sent a clear message that the second amendment rights of Oklahomans are not a ‘minor issue’. It is now up to the Senate to do the same.”

The Oklahoma measure is the latest in a series of legislation to enact reform to the CLEO portion of the NFA application process. In recent weeks, four states have enacted such ‘shall sign‘ bills into law.

With the House’s vote confirmed, the state legislature is halfway down the path to make HB 2461 law despite the governor’s opposition. A vote in the state Senate is expected in coming days.