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Oklahoma: The Latest Red State to Reject Permitless Carry

May 14, 2018

In case you missed it, Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a permitless carry bill on Friday, joining the growing group of red states to reject this dangerous legislation. So far, no state has passed permitless carry this year. Legislatures in six states have permitless carry bills pending and have yet to adjourn.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1212 would’ve made it legal for Oklahoma residents to carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public without getting a permit, passing a background check or completing gun safety training.

As a gun owner herself, Gov. Fallin understands that common-sense requirements go hand-in-hand with responsible gun ownership. In her veto statement, Gov. Fallin wrote “SB 1212 eliminates the current ability of Oklahoma law enforcement to distinguish between those carrying guns who have been trained and vetted, and those who have not. Again, I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so.” [Emphasis added.]

In vetoing this bill, Gov. Fallin listened to the 81 percent of Oklahomans who oppose permitless carry. Additionally, the Tulsa World editorial board, the Oklahoman editorial board, a coalition of 50 state associations, universities, business owners and law enforcement organizations and Rhonda Hooper, chair of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, urged lawmakers to reject SB 1212.

Oklahoma isn’t a unique case. We are continuing to see lawmakers in red states stand up for public safety and oppose permitless carry. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard – a Republican and longtime NRA member – vetoed a similar bill last year, stating “It is paramount that our state protect the rights of our citizens while at the same time protecting the lives of our citizens. I believe our current laws appropriately protect both interests…”

In Montana, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock cited concerns from law enforcement and Montanans when he vetoed permitless carry last year for the third year in a row. This year’s Indiana legislative session ended with the defeat of permitless carry as well.

These defeats are significant because they demonstrate that lawmakers and voters in red and blue states support core safety standards for someone to carry a concealed handgun in public. The recent veto in Oklahoma makes clear that states with strong standards, such as safety training, live fire experience and screening for dangerous histories, want to keep those standards in tact.

A recent Gallup poll showed that support for weakening gun laws was at 4 percent — its lowest point since the early 1990s. However, the gun lobby is still hard at work trying to gut the nation’s gun laws in Congress. At the top of the gun lobby’s priority list is “concealed carry reciprocity,” legislation that would undermine state gun laws, and override every state’s ability to set standards for who can carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public. The gun lobby wants to make permitless carry a reality in all 50 states by forcing states to recognize the standards other states have for who can carry a concealed handgun in public, even those states with significantly weaker standards – or worse, no standards at all.

The “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” which passed the House in December, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A Senate version of the policy (S. 446) has also been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about the gun lobby’s losing record on permitless carry – or how we’re carrying this momentum forward to defeat “concealed carry reciprocity” legislation in Congress, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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