OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate has no plans to pursue the House's veto override of a gun bill, leaders of the upper chamber said last week.
Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday vetoed 15 House bills, saying the lower chamber was ignoring important issues facing the state while wasting time on meaningless bills. Her action set a record for her use of the veto pen on a single day.
She said work on the budget and passage of a plan to repair the Capitol, among other items, were not getting enough attention.
A day later, the House voted 86-3 to override her veto of House Bill 2461.
In her veto message, Fallin said HB 2461 was an attempt to regulate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"The ATF is not required to follow the requirements of this bill," Fallin said in her veto message. "This bill serves no significant interest of the citizens of the State of Oklahoma."
The House author, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Edmond, disagreed with her characterization of his bill, which he said is designed to strengthen and protect Second Amendment rights.
"If someone has applied for a Class 3 license with the ATF, once the ATF has approved it, it goes to the county sheriff to approve it," said Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, the Senate author. "The bill requires the county sheriff to either say yes or no within 15 days instead of holding it in limbo forever and using politics if they disagree with that individual owning that firearm."
Class 3 licenses cover silencers, fully automatic machine guns, short-barrel shotguns and other items, Dahm said. He has requested a veto override attempt in the Senate, but would be satisfied if other means were used to get it enacted.
Senate Floor Leader Mike Schulz, R-Altus, and Senate Caucus Chairman Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, said the Senate will not pursue a veto override. The language from the vetoed measure could be altered and wind up in another bill.
Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, who is running against Fallin, was asked about the controversy.
"She threw a temper tantrum," Dorman said. "Just because she doesn't get her way, she vetoed good policy that helps people."
He said he was referring to bills dealing with immunizations and the expungment of criminal records under certain circumstances.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor was sending lawmakers a message with her vetoes.
"Governor Fallin took a stand to refocus the Legislature's attention on important issues that were being left unaddressed," Weintz said. "It worked. Since she issued her vetoes, the governor's office and the House and Senate have made steady progress on budget negotiations, Capitol repairs and several other important issues."
Fallin was asked Thursday about the override.
"They overrode one veto," she said. "We will see what the Senate does. But we don't know yet. The House has gone home. They could be here working today. But we have made some great progress on the budget, which I am grateful for. And that was one of my major things to say; it is time to deal with some very big issues that have been left undone. We only have several more weeks to go until the session ends."
She said she expects lawmakers will address important issues this session.
Lawmakers must end the session by 5 p.m. May 30. During some past legislative sessions, they have adjourned early.
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465