Oklahoma gun owners have a chance to reclaim a little bit of freedom lost as three pro-gun bills head to the state Senate for consideration this week.
Last week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed all three measures, House Bill 1721, House Bill 2323 and House Bill 2322.
House Bill 1721, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Greg Babinec, would end the state’s prohibition on the carry of firearms on public buses, and has been referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee. It passed the House by a 75-8 vote.
“This is a request bill from the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. It's also endorsed by the NRA,” Babinec told Public Radio Tulsa. “House Bill 1721, the Bus Passenger Safety Act, allows any person with [a Self-Defense Act permit] to carry on a bus.”
The measure also amends the portion of current law that outlaws the discharge of a firearm on a bus, “unless such action is determined to have been in defensive force resulting from reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.”
Current law discriminates against those who choose to use public transportation to travel, stopping them from being able to carry a firearm for self-defense should the need arise. HB 1721 would remove that prohibition, leaving carry permit holders with one less place to be disarmed in the state.
House Bill 2323, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jeff Coody, would allow anyone who is 21 years of age or older to carry a pistol in a vehicle without the requirement of having to obtain a handgun license. The measure passed the House by a 70-to-16 margin.
The bill as passed in the House specifically stipulates: “Any person twenty-one (21) years of age or older, except a convicted felon or person that is otherwise disqualified from the possession or legal purchase of a firearm under state or federal law, may transport in a motor vehicle a pistol, concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded, without a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, provided the person is not involved in a crime. The provisions of this subsection shall not prohibit a business entity from controlling the transporting, possessing or carrying of firearms in or about the vehicle that is under the control of the business entity.”
“The thinking is: Your auto is an extension of your home, and oftentimes, you need the ability to defend yourself, especially a business person who is carrying money to and from the bank, home or business,” Coody told the Lawton Constitution. “And, if you're going on a trip across the state, you deserve the ability to defend yourself without having to go apply for a permit, then pay a fee.”
The measure also addresses transport of rifles and shotguns, stating, “Any person, except a convicted felon or person that is otherwise disqualified from the possession or legal purchase of a firearm under state or federal law and is not involved in a crime, may transport in a motor vehicle a rifle or shotgun, concealed or unconcealed and unloaded, at any time.”
Lastly, House Bill 2322, also sponsored by Coody, passed the House of Representatives 76-10. That measure provides positive reforms to Oklahoma’s current state pre-emption laws and makes technical changes to better clarify the intent of the law.
It also specifies: “A person adversely affected by any order, policy, ordinance or regulation promulgated or enforced by any municipality, agency or other political subdivision of this state in violation of the pre-emption provisions of this section shall have the right to bring a civil action against the persons, municipality, and agency or political subdivision jointly and severally for injunctive relief or monetary damages or both.”
The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Use Your Power!
NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action encourages Oklahoma gun owners to contact their state senator and ask him or her to support HB 1721, HB 2323 and HB 2322. Contact them directly by clicking here.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.