Gun bill awaits gubernatorial action. With no action, it's law tomorrow. | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gun bill awaits gubernatorial action. With no action, it's law tomorrow.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 12:11 PM

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So far, Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office has not announced a time for his expected signing of the legislation that will expand the ability to carry concealed weapons to college campuses, the Capitol, courthouses, bars, churches, football games and a host of public buildings.

A Bloomberg-financed gun safety group and Arkansas sympathizers have generated a storm of calls, letters and e-mails against the bill, but I've yet to find someone who thinks the governor will veto the bill. For one thing, a veto is overridden in Arkansas by a simple majority vote. Would the House or Senate defy the NRA by sustaining a gubernatorial veto? Seems unlikely.

In the meanwhile, a reader asks: Does the governor HAVE to sign the bill? No. He may allow it to become law without his signature.

Here's how the process works. This bill was transmitted to the governor's office the morning of Thursday, March 16. The first day doesn't count in the five-day period that must elapse before a law takes effect without a governor's signature. Sundays don't count either, but Saturdays do. The fifth day also counts. By my reckoning, that means the law takes effect tomorrow, Wednesday, unless the governor vetoes it.

Had the bill reached the governor 12 hours earlier, today would have been the day. It would have been slightly uncomfortable, I'd think, for an expanded gun bill to take effect the day the governor plans a grand ceremony to cheer Arkansas's decision to solely honor Martin Luther King Jr., the drum major for peace who was felled by an  assassin's bullet. But we'll see. Perhaps the governor could double up the ceremony today with a gun bill signing, too.

UPDATE: Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press says it's his understanding the time clock doesn't begin running until the bill is reported delivered to the governor. For reasons unclear, the campus carry bill is not identified as having been "delivered" to the governor, only "ordered transmitted" to the governor.

UPDATE II: This appears to be a matter of nomenclature. A House spokesman said "transmitted" to governor means delivered to governor. Senate bills are identified as "delivered."

UPDATE III: A spokesman for the governor received the bill the day after passage and said he will likely sign the bill Wednesday.

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