The state House of Representatives passed a controversial bill that would allow anyone over 21-years-old without a felony conviction to carry a handgun without a license Wednesday.
If the bill is signed into law, Oklahoma would become the 14th state not to require a license to carry a handgun. Opponents point out that would mean no background checks would be needed to carry guns.
“Do you think that might be a reason why a vast majority of law enforcement agencies might be against this amendment?” Representative Meloyde Blancett (D) Tulsa asked author Representative Jeff Coody (R) Lawton.
“The Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation gets a great deal of money from the permitting process,” Coody replied, “So they simply are concerned about revenue over the freedom of law abiding citizens.”
Coody argued requiring a gun license only impacts law abiding citizens, because criminals don’t follow the laws anyhow.
“By that same definition do you propose to come out here and say introduce legislation that eliminates speed limits in Oklahoma?” Representative Scott Inman (D) Del City asked.
“There’s nothing in the constitution about cars and driving and it’s not a constitutional right. It’s a privilege,” Coody said, “But the right to self-defense, the right to carry keep and bear arms is a constitutional right.”
A right, Coody argues, that 's protected in the second amendment.
“The reason the second amendment is where it is is because our founders understood how important it was,” Coody said.
“Those guys didn’t think that I had a right to vote,” Representative Emily Virgin (D) Norman said,.
“They thought that black people should be owned by white people. So wouldn’t you agree that we have evolved?” Coody replied, “I don’t believe the constitution evolves, I believe that it’s a static document that does not change.”
Representative Forrest Bennett (D) Oklahoma City replied, “Amendment means change. So that the second amendment is an amendment means that it was a change to the original constitution.”
The bill now advances to the senate.