OSBI Voices Concern Over Constitutional Carry Bill

Thursday, May 3rd 2018, 4:14 pm
By: David Prock

The OSBI is voicing its concerns with Senate Bill 1212 which would allow anyone 21 or older (18 if military) to possess and purchase a firearm without a license, open or concealed.

Otherwise known as “constitutional carry” Senate 1212 aims to provide fewer restrictions to law-abiding citizens. One of the biggest proponents of the bill Representative Jeff Coody argued requiring a gun license only impacts law abiding citizens because criminals don’t follow the laws anyhow during the house vote in April.

04/25/2018: Related Story - OK House Of Representatives Pass "Constitutional Carry" Bill

According to OSBI the bill goes too far and ties the hands of law enforcement. OSBI says that without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity law enforcement cannot disarm or restrain anyone with a weapon, including asking individuals carrying firearms whether or not they are lawfully allowed to do so.  Meaning there would be no way for law enforcement to distinguish lawful gun owners from unlawful gun owners and no recourse for law enforcement who encounter individuals with firearms unless caught committing a crime.

The biggest impact OSBI says comes in the form of background checks. According to the bill, no vetting of anyone in possession of a firearm beyond National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check can be used. Currently, the NICS does not search mental health records, Oklahoma State Court Records for criminal cases, state drug conviction prohibitions, prohibitions for violence and domestic abuse, or protective orders for domestic relationships.

In addition, OSBI says NICS checks do not include state or federal "Rap Back" services to identify arrests after purchase. Rap Back provides ongoing status notifications of individual criminal history reported to the FBI or OSBI. Under a NICS check only, if an individual is arrested subsequent to a firearms purchase, no notifications are made which would disqualify lawful carry of a firearm.

OSBI says that its own background check covers these areas in addition to the national check. Fiscally the impact of Senate Bill 1212 will cost the OSBI roughly $4.7 billion that was collected with fees associated with OSBI background checks. OSBI was criticized last week by Representative Coody who claimed their opposition to the bill was financially based.

“The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation gets a great deal of money from the permitting process. So, they simply are concerned about revenue over the freedom of law-abiding citizens.” Coody said.

OSBI says this is not true that they are chiefly concerned about safety and security of the citizens and fear that Senate Bill 1212 has given no guarantee firearms were legally purchased by the person in possession.

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday night, it now goes before Governor Mary Fallin.

05/02/2018 Related Story: OK Senate Passes “Constitutional Carry” Bill Wednesday Night