Constitutional Carry Bill Goes Before Governor
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - A new gun law is on the Governor Fallin’s desk Thursday.
The constitutional carry bill, Senate Bill 1212, allows anyone who's 21 or older, with no felonies, to carry a gun without a license.
Senator Nathan Dahm, the author of the bill, says the bill gives the same rights and restrictions to non-license holders, as current license holders.
"You cannot carry any of the places that you currently are prohibited from carrying. You have to be a law-abiding citizen. You still have to go through the background check when purchasing a firearm. So really what this does is it removes the licensing requirement for law abiding citizens. It doesn't change where they can carry, or how they can carry," said Dahm.
Some firearms instructors say that this bill is a step in the right direction for second amendment rights, but the OSBI said they have several concerns with the law.
Jeremiah Blasi, co-owner of Guardian Shooting Solutions, believes constitutional carry is a good thing.
"I think responsible people will do what responsible people do," he said. "I think they'll seek the training; they'll seek to do it safely and they'll do it properly."
Blasi and his partner teach concealed carry classes. Blasi said if the bill is signed, there may be fewer people taking concealed carry classes, but he believes more people will take advantage of higher level classes.
"People will be interested in getting good training in order to carry their firearms safely, carry them effectively and understand how to use them in a defensive manor," he said.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent In Charge Beth Green said the bill makes background checks less extension.
The OSBI said it eliminates OSBI background checks that are more extensive to include checks of mental health history and pending charges.
"So we do a fingerprint-based background search," she said. "We also check additional databases and so forth - we check additional databases and so forth. We check mental health records - all of those things to determine whether or not to issue somebody a permit."
OSBI said if Senate Bill 1212 passes, there's no way for officers to tell who's carrying a gun legally versus illegally. The agency also says it will lose about $4.7 million in fees by not issuing the licenses.
"Agency wide, the ripple effect that this will have and how that affects citizens and their safety in Oklahoma," said Beth Green, Special Agent In Charge.
The bill applies exclusively to Oklahoma residents, visitors must have a permit from a state Oklahoma shares reciprocity with. Also, Oklahomans will need a handgun license if they plan to carry in other states.
If the governor signs the bill, it will go into effect November first. Oklahoma would be the 14th state to not require a permit to carry a handgun.