This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, November 3, 2019:
Between 250 and 300 Oklahoma gun owners joined with Oklahoma’s Second Amendment Association in celebrating the state’s newly-minted “Constitutional Carry” law — carrying in public without government permission — in front of the state capitol in Oklahoma City on Friday. The new law became effective that day.
State Senator Nathan Dahm, the author of the bill that had previously been vetoed by former Governor Mary Fallin, exulted:
It’s a great day and a historic day. Throughout this process we faced committee chairmen who refused to hear a bill to restore our constitutional rights, or a Republican governor who broke her word, violated a campaign promise and vetoed the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms….
Today we celebrate being victorious.
In his first official act as Oklahoma’s new governor, Kevin Stitt, signed Dahm’s bill into law earlier this year that had previously been overwhelmingly approved by both the House (70-30) and the Senate (40-6). The previous governor vetoed the bill.
Oklahoma joins 16 other states with similar “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” laws: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Montana, and Kentucky.
An outline of the state’s gun laws reveals just how free its citizens are to exercise their Second Amendment rights:
Does the state require a permit to purchase a firearm? No
Does the state require firearms to be registered with the state? No
Is there an “assault weapon” law on the books in Oklahoma? No
Does the owner of a firearm need to be licensed? No
Does he need a concealed carry permit to carry? No
Does he need a permit to carry openly? No
Are background checks required for private, person-to-person sales? No
While the state’s preemption law prohibits local municipalities from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than the state’s, open or concealed carry is not allowed on college campuses. It remains illegal for gun owners to carry into public sporting events or casinos, although they are now free to carry at public parks and zoos. Property owners remain free to prohibit carrying if they so choose. The law also bans anyone in the state illegally or those convicted of certain crimes from enjoying the benefits of the new law.
Anti-gunners tried repeatedly to stall, delay, derail, or otherwise deny passage of the bill into law. Oklahoma City Democrat Jason Lowe asked a local judge to grant a last-minute stay, but County Judge Don Andrews rejected Lowe’s request. Upon appeal the state’s Supreme Court also denied Lowe’s request.
This rejection followed a previous failed effort to get the bill onto the ballot for voters to ratify or deny. He was joined by anti-gun Moms Demand Action but the petition failed to gather the minimum required number of signatures needed.
The new law extends to visitors to the state as well, said state Senator Kim David: “We allow for people in other states to be able to carry in this state without a permit. This bill simply allows law-abiding citizens who wish to carry a weapon to be able to do that in our state without … a permit.”
With passage of the new law Oklahoma will likely enjoy another benefit: lower homicide rates. According to data from the FBI, Arizona – which adopted “constitutional carry” in 2010 — saw its homicide rates decline from 6.4 per 100,000 to 5.1 by 2018. Mississippi – which adopted a similar law in 2016 — saw its homicide rates fall to the lowest numbers seen in decades. Three of the four states with the lowest murder rates in 2018 are “constitutional carry” states.
The gathering on front of the capitol on Friday celebrated one more step towards government-free enjoyment of God-given rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.