LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 26, 2021) – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would take on federal gun control, past, present and future, banning the state from participating in the enforcement of a wide range of acts dating back to 1934, saying it would threaten important “state/federal” partnerships. Efforts to override the veto are underway.
Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R) and Sen. Brandt Smith (R) introduced Senate Bill 298 (SB298) on Feb. 8. The legislation would ban any person, including any public officer or employee of the state and its political subdivisions, from enforcing any past, present or future “federal statute, executive order, or federal agency directive that conflicts with Arkansas Constitution, Article 2, § 5, or any Arkansas law” relating to the right to keep and bear arms. The bill includes a detailed definition of actions that conflict with the right to keep and bear arms under the Arkansas constitution and that would not be enforced by state officers. You can get more details on the legislation HERE.
In his veto letter, Hutchinson called the partnership between state and federal law enforcement “crucial.”
“This bill would break that partnership and put the safety of Arkansans at risk.”
In practice, these “partnerships” primarily revolve around the unconstitutional war on drugs. Federal prosecutors use gun charges to enhance penalties in drug cases. And if your read between the lines, you will find the real issue is money. Law enforcement is addicted to the funding and asset forfeiture money that flows into Arkansas from Washington D.C. through these “partnerships.” The “public safety” rhetoric is nothing but a scare tactic to convince people that it’s necessary to give up their rights.
Hutchinson included the usual platitudes about supporting the Second Amendment.
“I am committed to protecting the sovereignty of the State of Arkansas and the constitutional rights of Arkansas citizens.”
But his actions tell us otherwise. His real commitment is to protecting Joe Biden’s gun control plans – along with state/federal “partnerships” and the flow of federal funding into Little Rock.
“I understand the intent of the bill is to provide citizens with confidence that law enforcement officers of this state will not participate in the enforcement of unconstitutional laws. I fully support that intention, but this bill does not accomplish this goal.”
This is incoherent word salad. SB298 literally bans state enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun control. Hutchinson can’t simultaneously support the “intention” of ending the enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun control while simultaneously opposing a bill that ends enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun control.
Perhaps Hutchinson doesn’t understand that all federal gun control is unconstitutional. The Second Amendment does not include exceptions for a “war on drugs” or preserving state-federal partnerships. Actions speak louder than words and Hutchinson’s veto of SB298 tells you everything you need to know about his commitment to the Second Amendment. His real commitment is to the puppetmasters in Washington D.C.
As far as the “public safety” argument goes, state and local law enforcement can still prosecute dangerous criminals under state law. The enactment of SB298 would not allow bad guys to walk free. It would just force Arkansas law enforcement to worth solely within the framework of state law – as it should be in the first place. Proponents of these state/federal partnerships will tell you federal law gives them more leverage. If that’s the case, the solution is to change state law, not empower the federal government to enforce unconstitutional federal gun control.
Arkansans would be wise to remember that they may well be considered “dangerous criminals” when the next batch of federal gun control comes down the pike.
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center say the legislature will likely override the governor’s veto sometime today. But Senate leadership reportedly has plans to introduce amendments to the legislation that would likely water down the bill to address the governor’s concern. Arkansans should remind their state representatives and senators that if they have the votes to override the governor’s veto, there is no reason to compromise on the Second Amendment.
The Arkansas legislative session ends at midnight Tuesday (April 27) so things will move quickly. Arkansas residents should take action now – call your STATE representative and STATE senator. Tell them you support SB298 and want them to vote YES to override the Governor’s veto. Find your state rep here. Find your state senator here.