A bill that would allow Oklahomans to carry a gun without a license or without any training passes in the State House of Representatives.
“I think of a big billboard on the border of Oklahoma. Welcome to the wild wild west,” said Representative Jason Lowe (D) Midwest City.
Opponents didn’t pull any punches.
Representative Andy Fugate (D) Oklahomna City said, “So, this is about good guys, good people with good intentions but no training. And we will make them dangerous people.”
Representative Regina Goodwin (D) Tulsa) added, “Are we going to have untrained folks out there with more guns? And it’s already been proven that the more guns, the more violence.”
House Bill 2597, otherwise known as permitless carry or constitutional carry, would do away with the license, but backers say all the other rules still apply.
“If you have a felony or if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence, you still cannot lawfully have a firearm. If you’d been adjudicated with a mental illness, you still cannot legally have a firearm,” said Representative Kevin West (R) Moore.
The bill also would require Oklahomans to be at least 21 years old to carry or 18 years old with military background. And backers stress, it doesn’t require training, but it doesn’t prevent gun owners from seeking out training.
“And in fact, it’s actually recommended. The ability to get a license is still available. In fact, it’s recommended especially if you travel,” said Representative West.
Still, opponents say, this is more about politics than policy.
“We don’t live in Yemen. We’re not in the middle of a war zone,” said Representative Collin Walke (D) Oklahoma City. “There aren’t bullets whizzing by our head. What are we so afraid of? I’ll tell you what we’re afraid of, losing the next election.”
A similar bill is working its way through the Senate. The difference is, the House bill restricts some places where Oklahomans can carry, like universities. The House bill passed Wednesday, February 13, 70-to-30.
The legislature passed a constitutional carry bill last year, but it was vetoed by then Governor Mary Fallin