Oklahoma House Passes Gun Bill Removing License and Training Requirements

February 14, 2019 Updated: February 14, 2019

A bill that removes all licensing and training requirements for handgun owners has cleared the State House of Representatives in Oklahoma and is awaiting the governor’s decision to become law.

If the bill is approved by the governor, Oklahoma will become the 15th state to allow residents to carry firearms without a specific permit—sometimes called “constitutional carry”—hot on the heels of South Dakota, which passed legislation to lift restrictions on concealed carry of handguns two weeks ago.

Shortly after the Oklahoma bill passed in a 70-30 vote on Feb. 13, Republican state Gov. Kevin Stitt indicated that he would not be vetoing the bill.

The previous state governor had voted down a similar bill last year.

Under the proposed law, background checks would still be required, and, according to the local newspaper Tulsa World doesn’t change where guns are allowed or, for the most part, who can carry them.

Gun instructor Mike Stilwell, demonstrates a revolver as he teaches a packed class to obtain the Utah concealed gun carry permit, at Range Master of Utah, on Jan. 9, 2016, in Springville, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

“What this does is allow, as the Constitution states, that a person can carry a firearm without having to purchase that right,” Republican state Rep. Kevin West told reporters, according to Tulsa World. “The Constitution clearly states that we have the right to keep and bear arms.”

Supporters of the bill said that the cost of training and licensing is an unconstitutional barrier to gun ownership.

The current cost of a 5-year license is $100 for 5 years. The mandatory training courses are available for $60.

Concealed Carry Classes
A gun instructor teaches a packed class to obtain the Utah concealed gun carry permit on Jan. 9, 2016. (George Frey/Getty Images)

West conceded that the bill, HB 2597, is not a “pure” constitutional carry measure, but was a “permitless carry.”

The Oklahoma state House is weighted 76-24 in favor of Republicans.

State Rep. Jon Echols (R-Okla.) said the bill actually increases the penalties for carrying them where they are not allowed.

Hypocritical and Plain Wrong

Stitt said in a tweet shortly after the bill was passed, “I have said from the very beginning I would sign legislation that places Oklahoma in the ranks with 12 other states allowing Constitutional Carry. HB 2597 received overwhelming support in the House, and I applaud leadership for advancing a measure that supports Oklahomans’ #2A rights”

Gun control advocates, along with the state House Democrats said that the bill was hypocritical and plain wrong.

Concealed Carry Classes
An unidentified person has his fingerprints taken as part of a concealed gun carry permit class in Utah, Jan. 9, 2016. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Before the vote, gun control advocates dropped off 2,400 signatures opposing the legislation, reported Fox News.

“These are concerned moms all over the state that don’t want to take people’s guns away but are very concerned for their children, their loved ones,” Lauren Van Allen, with Moms Demand Action, told FOX affiliate KOKH-TV. “They believe that if you have a gun, you should be well-trained, you should go through proper procedures just like you would with a car.”

In January, South Dakota became the latest state to remove permit requirements on carrying and concealing handguns—something supporters claim is implicit in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Kristi Noem.

The much-debated Second Amendment states:  “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The 14 states that currently allow permitless concealed carry are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Technically, Connecticut requires a concealed carry permit, according to the NRA, but since it generally grants them to all law-abiding citizens it is sometimes included on the list.

 

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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