Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have declared federal firearm laws and regulations that “infringe” on the Second Amendment to be invalid in Arkansas.
Hutchinson informed the Arkansas General Assembly on Friday, April 23 that he had decided to veto Senate Bill 298, which would create the Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) and was passed by the Senate on Wednesday, March 31 in a 28-8 vote and by the Arkansas House of Representatives in a 76-18 vote on Thursday, April 15. It was enrolled and sent to Hutchinson on April 19.
Under this legislation, any federal gun/firearm legislation that would “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms” would not be recognized by the state and would be “considered null and void and of no effect in this state.” The bill specifically named the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and any tax, levy, fee or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition as regulations that would be null and void.
The bill also would make registering or tracking of firearms, accessories, or ammunition that “could have a chilling effect” on firearm purchase or ownership null and void. Senate Bill 298 also would not recognize federal laws that would prohibit the possession, ownership or use of firearms or a law that would order the confiscation of firearms, accessories or ammunition.
Under this bill, state public officer or employees, law enforcement officers, or county, municipality or state agents would not be permitted to enforce federal statutes, executive orders or federal agency directives that conflicted with this bill. It would prohibit these officers from assisting federal agencies and officers in enforcing the firearm laws.
While Hutchinson has vetoed the bill, the House and the Senate can override the veto with a simple majority of both chambers. In early April, the legislature overrode Hutchinson’s veto of the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which prohibits doctors from offering gender transition services for Arkansas minors.