Bill Allowing 18-Year-Olds To Purchase Handguns Moves Out Of Committee

Current Oklahoma law allows anyone 18 and up to buy long guns, like shotguns and rifles, but it limits handgun purchases to 21 and up. Senate Bill 1218 would allow any gun to be sold to anyone 18 and older.

Wednesday, April 10th 2024, 5:51 pm



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A bill was heard in a House committee Wednesday that would lower the age Oklahomans can buy a handgun to 18.

There was a lot of debate over the bill, mainly concerned with the lack of training requirements for 18 to 20-year-olds.

The bill passed out of the committee, 6-1, but not without both sides making sure they were heard.

“This is really a simple bill. This is an anti-discrimination bill dealing with the purchase of a firearm based on age,” Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) said.

Current Oklahoma law allows anyone 18 and up to buy long guns, like shotguns and rifles, but it limits handgun purchases to 21 and up.

Senate Bill 1218 would allow any gun to be sold to anyone 18 and older.

“We are proposing a very big change in our gun laws,” Rep. John Waldron (R-Tulsa) said.

Rep. Steagall says this change would comply with a federal court decision.

“West Virginia has ruled that the ban on purchases of firearms for individuals ages 18 to 20 is unconstitutional,” Rep. Steagall said.

Steagall argues that the ruling is applicable nationwide, not just for West Virginia.

Rep. Waldron argues this should be played out in court.

“While it’s true a West Virginia judge made this ruling, a court process is much more deliberate and I would like to wait until [...] that case is appealed and we get further rulings on this,” Rep. Waldron said.

Waldron also argues the state shouldn’t allow 18-year-olds to have handguns without also requiring gun safety training.

“We have a responsibility for the safety of our citizens of Oklahoma and it is reasonable to ask for certain standards of safety and trainings,” Rep. Waldron said.

Steagall says that court ruling only had to do with the purchasing of the firearm, not training.

“It is our job as elected officials to support and obey and defend the constitution. It is not in our purview to put additional requirements on the exercising of those constitutional rights,” Rep. Steagall said.

The bill is now headed to the House floor for consideration.

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