As the Oklahoma legislature returns to Oklahoma City for the start of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence and after a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
After violent extremists – some of whom were reportedly armed – stormed and damaged the United States Capitol Building in an act of violent insurrection, the need to reject radical gun policies which would likely embolden extremists and vigilantes has never been more evident.
However, Oklahoma lawmakers have instead introduced dangerous gun bills that would make Oklahoma even less safe. This year, lawmakers should protect Oklahomans by rejecting dangerous legislation that would force guns onto college campuses and into establishments that serve alcohol, further punish local officials for passing gun safety ordinances, and expand Oklahoma’s existing “Stand Your Ground” law.
What to know about guns on campus in Oklahoma:
- Guns on campus legislation (S. 733) would force colleges to allow anyone with a permit – students and faculty alike – to carry concealed, loaded handguns on campus.
- The majority of professors, students, and parents agree – guns have no place on college campuses, and state legislators shouldn’t make colleges less safe by forcing them to allow concealed handguns in dorms, classrooms, and other sensitive areas. Allowing guns on campus could also increase the risk of gun suicide for students. The firearm suicide rate for children and teens has increased by 59 percent in the past decade – and access to firearms increases the risk of suicide by three times.
- More information about the dangers of guns on campus is available here.
What to know about punitive preemption legislation in Oklahoma:
- Punitive preemption legislation (H. 2645) punishes local officials and governments for passing lifesaving gun safety ordinances.
- Proposed bills would expand Oklahoma’s existing preemption law to include firearm components and ammunition, and to allow a person to collect legal expenses even if a local government changes its ordinance or policy before a final determination is made by a court.
What to know about “Guns Everywhere” legislation in Oklahoma:
- Guns and alcohol simply don’t mix – but proposed legislation (H. 2645, H. 1673, S. 646) would allow a person to carry any firearm in a restaurant that serves alcohol and remove the requirement that a person have a permit.
- Proposed legislation would also require a person carrying a firearm in a bar to consume alcohol and refuse to leave before any criminal penalties could apply.
What to know about “Stand Your Ground” expansion in Oklahoma:
- Oklahoma already has a dangerous “Stand Your Ground” law, but current proposals (H. 1662) would further expand that law, flipping the burden onto prosecutors to preemptively prove beyond a reasonable doubt that “Stand Your Ground” does not apply at a pretrial immunity hearing, further emboldening a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality in Oklahoma.
- So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are inherently dangerous for everyone — and are associated with an increase in homicides — but have a particularly harmful impact on people of color. In “Stand Your Ground” states, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.
- More information about “Stand Your Ground” laws is available here.
What to know about gun violence in Oklahoma:
- In Oklahoma, on average, 686 people are shot and killed with a gun every year.
- An average of 206 people in Oklahoma die by gun homicide every year. Black people in Oklahoma are six times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
- Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teens in Oklahoma. In an average year, 55 children and teens die by gun in Oklahoma, and 52% of these deaths are suicides.
Statistics about gun violence in Oklahoma are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Oklahoma gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Oklahoma Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.