The Cleburne County Quorum Court met Thursday to attend the county’s business, in a terse and brief session. At issue was County Judge Jerry Holmes’ veto after the quorum court passed a county-wide Bill of Rights Sanctuary ordinance in April.
Justice of the Peace Sean Blackburn sponsored an ordinance intended to protect law-abiding, tax-paying, gun-owners from state and federal overreach such as excessive taxation, registration or tracking of firearms in the community.
In April state legislators were working on their own version, specifically Senate Bill298, sponsored by State Sen. Gary Stubblefield.
Despite support from three-quarters of both chambers, Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed SB298, which rejected “all acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations of the United States Government, whether past, present or future, that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.” Hutchinson wrote to the legislature that SB 298 would harm the state’s relationship with federal authorities. Despite a successful Senate vote to override the governor’s veto of SB298 (the Arkansas House of Representatives tabled a motion to override the governor’s veto, effectively running out the clock on the bill), lawmakers recognized the potential negative impacts of the bill and offered another solution: HB1957, sponsored by State Rep. Jeff Wardlaw. Per the bill’s language, federal laws, orders and regulations “enacted on or after Jan. 1, 2021, that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms’’ are invalid in the state.
This language narrowed the scope of SB298 and ensures that active legal cases aren’t jeopardized, as well as, specifically listing exceptions to HB1957’s language, noting that law enforcement officers and other state authorities are still expected to cooperate with federal authorities on actions that don’t involve hypothetical federal gun bans.
Law enforcement told legislators they pick up a lot of drug dealers, smugglers, and human-traffickers, not necessarily on that charge, but on federal gun charges, because federal gun charges are a higher felony.
House Bill 1957, touted as a compromise, was put forth just days before the session ended.
People remain unconvinced. Holmes himself understood.
“I would entertain the motion to do an override veto,” Holmes said.
“I’ll make a motion to override the veto,” said Justice of the Peace Jacque Martin.
Blackburn seconded the motion.
In a roll-call vote, four justices: Martin and Blackburn, Alan Malone, and Charles Tamburo, voted to override Holmes’ veto.
In other business, the ambulance committee created a voluminous rough draft for quorum court members to look at before the first draft is prepared for next month’s meeting. Additionally the quorum court appointed Zeke Wilson to the library board and David Johnson and Gary Redd were appointed to the board of equalization.