On Wednesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said that he will sign legislation that would stop state and local law officials from helping push new and future federal gun restrictions. Many critics say this move can be considered unconstitutional and that it can confuse people as to which gun control policies the state recognizes.
The new proposal is a scaled-back version of another bill that the governor previously vetoed. It declares that any federal gun limitation enacted since Jan. 1, 2021, that violates a person’s right to bear arms, will be considered invalid in the state. State lawmakers voted on the proposal along party lines on Wednesday, and now it has reached the Republican governor’s office for his consideration.
With regards to the bill, Hutchinson released a statement. He described it as tough and said that it shows their commitment to protecting the 2nd Amendment in Arkansas. However, he also said that the new bill still supports law enforcement and that it will not risk critical partnerships related to public safety.
New Bill Would Nullify Gun Restrictions in Conflict With Arkansas Constitution
The Republicans in Arkansas, as well as in several other states, have taken steps to preempt any possible federal gun control measures that President Biden might roll out. This comes despite many questioning its constitutionality.
Unlike the vetoed state bill, the one recently passed is only connected to new restrictions and not those placed before this year. It also removes any criminal penalties that law enforcement officers who don’t comply with this Arkansas statute might face.
According to the governor, as well as prosecutors and law enforcement groups, the vetoed bill would have risked a lot of criminal cases. It would have also jeopardized the safety of the public.
Opponents of the said bill, however, called it ambiguous. They claim it doesn’t mention who can point out which of the new restrictions go against the right to bear arms according to the state’s and the U.S. Constitution.
President Biden has recently pushed for the passing of stricter gun control measures. These include a ban on importing assault weapons. However, any new proposal would have to face a difficult climb in Washington. Therefore, the president has resorted to limited executive action that can impose stricter gun control.