On Saturday, The Oklahoman published an opinion piece by Ron Norick, former mayor of Oklahoma City and Chairman of the Board for the Oklahoma State Fair, highlighting the dangers of HB4138, legislation that would allow firearm carry in some public places where firearms are currently prohibited, including city halls, recreation centers, and other local facilities. The bill would also bar events like the Oklahoma State Fair and Tulsa State Fair from prohibiting concealed handguns on their grounds.
From the piece:
“The truth is, all we want is a common-sense approach to managing our event and our property. The more guns allowed in a crowded, public event, the higher the chance for violence and crime. Events like the Oklahoma State Fair need to be able to control who is carrying a gun. This enhances safety because, in a crisis, law enforcement will know who is a friend and who may be a threat. I urge the Legislature to vote no on HB 4138 and leave the law as it stands.”
Local governments should be allowed to make public safety determinations that best serve their communities, including by prohibiting firearms in places where they believe it would be inappropriate for a person to carry a gun, such as fairgrounds, public facilities, and other spaces where families and children congregate. Combined with Oklahoma’s broad punitive preemption law, bills like HB 4138 could have a chilling effect on local authorities promoting public safety.
Oklahoma already has some of the weakest gun laws and highest rates of gun violence in the country, scoring only 7.5 out of 100 for gun law strength. The state lacks all foundational gun safety policies, and bills like HB 4138 will only serve to further strip away the state’s remaining public safety tools. More information about gun violence in Oklahoma is available here.
Read the full piece by former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick here.