Survey: Oklahoma Gun Laws Weak

Wednesday, February 4th 2009, 11:54 am
By: News On 6

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A national gun control group said Oklahoma is not doing enough to protect its citizens from gun violence.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released its annual state gun law rankings Wednesday, ranking Oklahoma last, tying with Kentucky and Louisiana among the 50 states.

Oklahoma scored just two points out of a total of 100.

Read Oklahoma's scorecard from the Brady Campaign.

The Washington-based group said Oklahoma's weak gun laws help feed the illegal gun market, allow the sale of guns without background checks and put children at risk.

However, some lawmakers said this shows that Oklahoma does not share the same goals as the Brady Campaign, and that's a good thing.

"Their goal is to abolish the Second Amendment, so I think those that enjoy and support constitutional government are proud of this ranking," Sen. Anthony Sykes said.

Republican State Senator Sykes dismisses the Brady ranking, insisting Oklahoma has some of the most responsible gun owners in the country.

But the Brady scorecard looks beyond individual responsibility, and at state efforts to strengthen background checks, curb firearm trafficking, ban assault weapons and protect children. Those are all areas where Oklahoma scored zero.

Several lawmakers told us the score concerns them, but chose not to comment on camera, for fear of possible political repercussions. Democratic State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre is the exception, and she chides lawmakers for playing on citizens' fears about gun rights.

"It seems that a lot of Oklahomans who are gun owners hear nothing but 'My right to carry a gun is going to be lost,' they don't even seem to ask questions," Sen. McIntyre said.

But Senator Sykes said fears are real, which is one reason he's co-sponsoring legislation that might take away the only points Oklahoma earned on the Brady scoreboard, by allowing firearms on college campuses.

"The goal is to let those who see our campuses as a gun-free zone, where they can go on a shooting spree, to know that they might get fired back at if they do that," Sen. Sykes said.

Senator McIntyre said there's no need to have guns on campus, and not because she's anti-gun.

"Those persons who want to carry guns -- fine. But I also think there are common sense kind of policies that we must enact," Sen. McIntyre said.

California was given the highest score in the gun law study, 79.

This isn't the first time lawmakers have tried to enact legislation allowing firearms on college campuses. A similar bill was introduced last session, but it was defeated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.