Monday, March 31, 2014
COURTS CIRCUMVENT WILL OF PEOPLE!
Weekly Opinion Editorial
COURTS CIRCUMVENT WILL OF PEOPLE!
by Steve Fair
The second amendment in the U.S. Constitution guarantees a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. Article II, Section 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution does much the same thing, but a proposal by two Republican legislators- House Joint Resolution #1026- would add language to make sure an individual Oklahoman’s right to defend themselves is protected.
State Representative Dan Fisher, (R-Yukon), the author of HJR #1026, believes the added language is needed because of recent wayward rulings by the Oklahoma state Supreme Court. “Unfortunately, Oklahoma courts have sometimes interpreted the state constitution in ways that go against that intent. Concerned citizens feel it is necessary to place new language into the state constitution to clarify the right, to correct past misinterpretations by Oklahoma courts and to prevent similar misinterpretations from occurring in the future,” Fisher says. The bill passed the House 87-7 last week and now heads to the state Senate.
If the JR passes the Senate and makes it to the ballot in November, Oklahoma voters will decide if they want to amend Section 26 to specify, “handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, nonlethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as ammunition and the components of arms and ammunition” and add “self-defense” and “lawful hunting and recreation” in order to ensure that courts have less latitude in interpreting the language. The proposed constitutional amendment would also add two subsections to Section 26. The first would clarify that the state could prevent convicted felons and the mentally ill from the possession of arms. The second would prohibit registration or special taxation on arms and ammunition.
You wouldn’t think conservative, common sense Oklahoma would need to address something as clear cut and fundamental as the right to defend oneself, but recent rulings by the State Supreme Court have been anything but conservative- or for that matter consistent. The state’s high court, loaded with liberal Democrat appointees, has ruled against the vote of the people and conservative legislation in several cases. They threw out the tort reform laws and the tax cut bills because they claimed they violated the single subject provision in the state constitution. Their inconsistency and judicial activism cost taxpayers money when a special session of the legislature had to be called to deal with tort reform. Their judicial activism has revealed Oklahoma need for judicial term limits at the appellant and high court level. Hopefully, that is also something that will be on the ballot in November.
Critics of HJR #1026 say it is unnecessary and Oklahoma doesn’t need more gun laws, but the recent rulings by the state Supreme Court would refute that claim. Those same critics say what is happening in other states- tax on ammo/gun registration- could never happen in Oklahoma, but don’t bet on it. In addition to the two wacko rulings by the state Supreme Court referenced above, two federal judges in Oklahoma have overturned state constitutional amendments that voters overwhelmingly approved. The ban on gay marriage in Oklahoma and the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma courts were approved 3-1 by the voters, but overturned by the federal courts. There is no guarantee that once voters approve HJR #1026 that a liberal federal judge will not overturn it.
Welcome to the new America- a one where the President says he will advance measures to reduce gun violence "with or without Congress:" An America where the will of the people can be overturned by a liberal judge. If you don’t think your right to defend yourself is under attack, you are living in a dream world. Please contact your state Senator and ask them to support HJR #1026 when it comes up for a vote.