Gun marches take place in Oklahoma

Monday, May 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Hundreds turned out in Oklahoma in a show of support for gun regulation and the national Million Mom March in Washington.

The interest in gun issues also influenced a group of gun-rights advocates to hold their own rally Sunday.

As many as 400 marched in Tulsa's version of the Million Mom March, which was organized by Oklahomans for Gun Safety.

"There's a resounding feeling among people I know that says we've got to do something," said Alice Blue, one of the Tulsa organizers.

Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage, police Chief Ron Palmer and Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris joined in.

The Tulsa marchers, who walked for several miles along Riverside Drive and nearby thoroughfares, called for state legislation requiring safety locks on new guns and mandatory gun safety education for gun owners and their children.

They also said they support the continued distribution of gunlocks. Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin has spearheaded a gun-lock giveaway with cable gun locks provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Just down the street, members of Citizens for a Safer Oklahoma held a rally attended by about 100 people.

Members of the group said they oppose what they say is the real goal of Million Mom March organizers -- stricter gun control leading to gun confiscation.

There are already too many gun laws on the books, and enforcement of existing laws would eliminate gun-related problems, members of the gun-rights group said.

Wanda Waits attended the Citizens for a Safer Oklahoma rally.

"To me gun control is when you control what you're shooting at and that's all I need," Waits said.

In Oklahoma City, a group of about 150 parents and children marched along the southeast shore of Lake Hefner in support of the Million Mom March.

The march coordinator, Eileen Hetherington, said gun safety is a personal issue.

Hetherington asked "what is more crucial to all of us than the safety of our children? Can you think of anything more important than that?"

Marchers responded, "No."

Oklahoma City marchers held signs opposing the National Rifle Association.

Others read "Ready-Aim-Vote," and "Keep Handguns from Kids' Hands."

Hetherington said the group supports a proposed federal law requiring gun permit applicants to buy handguns from licensed firearms dealers, pass a written firearms safety test and undergo a criminal record and mental illness background check.