A measure that would deregulate open carry in Oklahoma is flying through the state legislature there, with action on the measure expected soon in the state Senate. Gun owners and other lovers of freedom should take note and support the legislation.
The measure, HB 3098, known as the “Constitutional Open Carry Bill,” passed the state House of Representatives last month by a 73-15 vote, and was approved by the Oklahoma Senate Rules Committee last week by a vote of 10-3. In a nutshell, the bill, often referred to as “permitless” carry or constitutional carry, would allow law-abiding citizens over 21 years of age to open carry a firearm on their person without the fees associated with obtaining a carry permit.
Oklahoma currently requires open-carry applicants to obtain a permit like is required for concealed carry. Republican state Rep. Jeff Coody, who authored the House version of the measure, says this legislation would bring Oklahoma in line with other states in protecting gun owners’ rights.
“It’s always just kind of struck me as odd that we can own and carry at home and on our property, but if we ever walk off of our home or property and we feel the need to be protected, without that permission and that fee that we pay the government, we’re in violation of the law,” Coody told the Norman Transcript.
Of course, naysayers argue the same points they have argued for two decades about any measures deregulating carry of firearms for self-defense.“In 30 other states people can carry out in the open without a permit, without asking permission and without paying a tax to the government, and it’s not been an issue in other states.”
— Oklahoma Republican state Rep. Jeff Coody
“I see this bill as highly unnecessary,” said Democrat state Rep. Emily Virgin. “Especially in a year when we have so many other things to worry about, it’s unfortunate we’re considering legislation like this. I was also very concerned that there did not seem to be any protections for domestic violence victims.”
Of course, domestic violence victims are one of the very constituent segments that the measure seeks to protect. Permitting potential victims or potential repeat victims to carry a firearm for self-defense against their attackers will enable, not diminish, their God-given right of self-defense.
And as you might expect, some opponents repeat the old “Wild West” claims that have been proven false in every state that has legal carry of firearms, claiming they fear “blood will be running in the streets” if the law is passed.
“I’m sensitive to that [some people’s concerns], and I understand that,” Coody told the Transcript. “I think part of the reason behind that is we don’t see guns very often, except in the hands of law enforcement. We’ve probably watched too many Westerns, and people may think that if people carry weapons, there’s bound to be a gunfight.
“In 30 other states people can carry out in the open without a permit, without asking permission and without paying a tax to the government, and it’s not been an issue in other states.”
Opponents of the bill also argue that it will cause a financial problem for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), which administers firearms licenses issued under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act. A fiscal analysis performed for the House indicates the measure would reduce OSBI’s revenue by at least $6 million and could lead to the loss of jobs and reduced operating expenses at the agency.
This seems a very weak argument, as providing revenue to state agencies certainly doesn’t qualify as a good reason to restrict a constitutional right. And as NRA-ILA points out, HB 3098 would do nothing to change the current permitting process in the state of Oklahoma for those individuals who still prefer to carry a concealed firearm and receive reciprocity in other states.
As Coody points out, “It’s our God-given right to defend our self.”
Use Your Power!
Don’t let the naysayers kill this important piece of legislation. It is important that state senators know how their constituents feel about this measure. Contact your state senator and ask him or her to support House Bill 3098 by clicking here.