A controversial bill to allow the permitless carry of handguns passes its first hurdle. Thursday, the House Public Safety Committee passed a bill allowing for constitutional carry.
Constitutional carry would allow any Oklahoman over 21 years old without a felony to carry a handgun, open or concealed, without first getting a license or training.
“Training is an individual responsibility. It’s not the governments job to mandate training to you. It should be your individual responsibility to make sure you get yourself trained,” said Travis Couture-Lovelady of the NRA.
If it passes, Oklahoma would be the 15th state to have constitutional carry. The state currently allows visitors from those other 14 states to carry here without a license.
Backers say a lot of Oklahomans will continue to get the license though.
“If they want to travel, they’ll still need that. If they want to go to Texas or other states, they’ll still need that permit for reciprocity, so they can carry across state lines,” said Couture-Lovelady.
Opponents fear the lack of requirements will be dangerous.
“National polling shows that most Americans are in favor of reasonable gun laws and licensing, getting a permit, going through some basic checks keeps everyone more safe,” said Rev. Lori Walke of the Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City. “As far as Christians go, we follow someone who was a nonviolent resister. And we think that more guns make people less safe. We follow the prince of peace, not the prince of pistols.”
The committee also passed bills that forbid companies like Uber from requiring drivers not carry and would not send felons back to prison for unknowingly riding in a car with someone who legally has a gun.
All of those bills now go to the House floor for a vote.
The legislature passed Constitutional Carry last year, but it was vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin.