Permitless Gun Carry Clears Another Hurdle In State Legislature

Wednesday, February 20th 2019, 6:24 pm

A bill to legalize permitless gun carry clears another hurdle. 

A Senate committee passed it Wednesday with no debate.  House Bill 2597 is on the fast-track to becoming law, already passing in the state House of Representatives and now headed for the Senate floor.

The bill would remove the requirement that Oklahomans have to have a license, and the training and background check that goes along with it, to carry a gun.

 “Those people will have absolutely no background checks before they’re able to carry their guns, is that correct?” asked Senator Kay Floyd,  Senate Minority Leader.

“The only people who follow gun laws are law abiding citizens.  People who continually break the law are currently carrying guns without a permit,” Senator Kim David, R-Owasso said.

Opponents are not surprised it passed in committee.

“Unfortunately not. Elected officials have decided to side with the gun lobby over public safety,” said Jennifer Birch with Moms Demand Action. “Basic safety training and background checks should be performed in order for people to carry loaded guns around other citizens.”

But backers of the bill say it doesn’t prevent gun owners from seeking out training.

“Oh no, absolutely not,” said Don Spencer with the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association. “You’re not precluded and we here at OK2A and any other responsible organization will tell you the more training to get to your comfort level the better.”

The bill now goes to the state Senate where it’s expected to be heard next week. That’s where opponents will take their next battle. 

“We will implore the Senate as a whole to vote against this and if they don’t then of course governor Stitt has the option of vetoing it,” Birch said.

But don’t count on that happening. 

“We’ll monitor it, make sure there’s no changes coming out of the Senate, but I’m very supportive of the 2nd Amendment, and look forward to signing it,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said.

Last year, the Legislature passed a similar bill, but it was vetoed by former Gov. Mary Fallin. 

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