Loosening Oklahoma’s gun possession laws to put more guns in more hands of untrained people is a bad idea.
We support the Second Amendment, but do not think that should imply a firearms free-for-all.
The pending permitless-carry measure – vetoed last year by Gov. Mary Fallin – would eliminate common-sense protections in Oklahoma’s gun laws. It passed along political party lines in the House, and the Senate is likely to approve it this week. Gov. Kevin Stitt said he “looks forward” to signing it.
We urge the Senate to defeat the bill and the governor to reconsider his position.
Current law requires a person who wants to carry a handgun in public to obtain a permit. That means going through a criminal background check, paying a $100 fee and completing a minimal firearms safety and training course. A person must also be 21, a U.S. citizen and Oklahoma resident.
The law requires permit holders to take 16 hours of instruction covering gun handling, safety and storage; firearms ammunition and firing; the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act; criminal provisions related to firearms; a practice shooting session; and “a familiarization course.”
An instructor must do a safety inspection of the firearm to be used by the applicant and witness “actual demonstration of competency and qualification.”
Permitless carry would eliminate the mandate for all those safeguards. The proposal is unneeded and has the potential to cause confusion and harm.
With the change, no one will be able to tell who has met basic standards.
Nothing about existing law or the proposal effectively prevents criminals from getting and using firearms. Those who are determined to break the law, will do so. But removing the permit requirements will make it harder for law enforcement to sort out whether someone carrying a gun into a crowded place is a criminal or law-abiding citizen.
All rights are subject to limitations.
Free speech doesn’t include slander, and the right to assemble doesn’t allow for rioting. The right to bear arms isn’t a social suicide pact.
It is possible to uphold the Second Amendment and adopt policies that protect lives.