Oklahoma City, OK – The Oklahoma Senate passed concealed carry, or “constitutional carry,” legislation that would allow Oklahoma residents who are 21 and older, as well as military personnel 18 and older and legally eligible to own a firearm, to concealed carry their gun. The passage of Senate Bill 1212 would remove the current requirement of obtaining a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense and follows the Oklahoma House approving the legislation in a 59-28 vote on April 25.
The Senate passed the legislation by a 33-9 vote, according to a report by The Hill. Tulsa World reported that state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R), the author of the bill, said the legislation would have no effect on locations that have banned firearms such as governmental buildings and schools, and that “the bill would still require a background check currently required to purchase a firearm.” The Norman Transcript notes that “under current law, Oklahomans who are legally able to purchase a firearm are required to attend an eight-hour training course, undergo an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) background check, and be fingerprinted and photographed if they’re not already in the state system.”
A report from the Associated Press noted that “A background check would still be required before a person could purchase a firearm and handguns would remain prohibited in places where they are currently banned, including elementary schools, colleges, universities and government buildings. The bill also excludes anyone prohibited by state or federal law from owning a weapon as well as those convicted of assault and battery, domestic abuse, violating a protective order or drug crimes.” The AP also referred to a statement from Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that announced the bill would remove “the training requirement for carrying a firearm as well as an extensive background check process that includes mental health and court records.”
Breitbart reported that “State Sen. Kevin Matthews (D-11) opposed the legislation, arguing that people should be required to obtain a permit for a gun, similar to obtaining a license to drive a car. Dahm refuted Matthews “by pointing out that the Second Amendment protects a constitutional right to bear arms, not a constitutional right to drive cars.”
Currently, there are twelve states that have passed legislation to abolish permitting requirements to concealed carry a firearm, including Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia. Breitbart reports that the majority of Montana and Arkansas recognize constitutional carry as well.
According to a report by Breitbart News:
FBI figures published by the NRA show that Alaska’s handgun murder rate “declined after the state enacted permitless carry in 2003.” Moreover, in the years since Alaska’s permit requirement was abolished “handgun murders have declined as a percentage of the total number of murders.”
A drop in handgun murders also took place in Arizona after that state abolished its concealed carry permit requirement in 2010. And in Wyoming–which abolished its permit requirement in 2011–handgun murders have declined as well.
The bill to eliminate carry permits is now at the desk of Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. Tulsa World reported that “Fallin, a Second Amendment supporter, signed legislation to allow open carry of firearms but has previously vetoed gun bills.”