A bill that’s all but on Governor Mary Fallin’s desk, known as “point, don’t shoot,” would change current gun law to allow people to point their firearms at others without being charged with a crime.
Senate Bill 40, would make changes to an existing law that makes pointing a firearm a crime. So, the bill changes language to read "a person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony..." can't be convicted of a crime for doing so.
“Why not allow a person to use his gun to help stop a crime rather than killing somebody?” Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville) asked over the phone on Friday. “That's what the bill is all about.”
Cleveland co-authored the bill that also makes several other related but minor changes to the law. He said it's just common sense.
“If you can use a gun against a perpetrator to deter a crime, why not? If you just point at it and let them know you have a gun and you don't have to shoot him,” Cleveland said.
Critics, however, said it's dangerous and could lead to more shootings or accidental shootings. The law also doesn't contain a provision to stop someone from pointing a gun at law enforcement if they think an officer is committing a crime. But the state's police union said they don't have an opinion about it.
“We’re neutral. We haven't really weighed in at all,” Mark Nelson from the State Fraternal Order of Police said.
Instead, Nelson said they trust Oklahomans and their lawmakers to make good choices.
“The citizens of the state have shown great, for the most part, decision making as it relates to those types of issues,” he said. “So, we're confident that our legislature in representing their constituents are passing laws that they deem necessary.”
Oklahoma is considered to have some of the least expansive gun control laws in the country and was given an “F” ranking for quelling gun violence by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2014. That same year, the state boasted more than 600 gun-related deaths, according to the CDC.
This year, that number is already more than 250.
“Point, don’t shoot” needs to pass a procedural vote in the Senate before it can receive the governor’s signature. Fallin has not signaled whether she will sign the bill.