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OK Senate Passes NRA-Backed Gun Rights Bills

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fairfax, Va.The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is praising Oklahoma State Senators for overwhelmingly passing two gun rights bills this week that would protect and expand Oklahomans’ self-defense rights. Both bills head to a conference committee to work out differences with their respective House versions.

House Joint Resolution 1009 would lead to a statewide ballot initiative that would allow the voters of Oklahoma to strengthen the state’s gun rights laws by amending the state constitution.  HJR passed the Senate today by a vote of 39-7. It passed in the House on March 10 by a vote of 66-7.

 Senate Bill 3098 would allow law-abiding Oklahomans to openly carry a firearm without a government-issued permit. SB 3098 passed the Senate last night by a vote of 39-7. It passed the House in March 10 by a vote of 73-15.

 “Together these bill would greatly protect and expand the ability of law-abiding Oklahomans to defend themselves,” said Catherine Mortensen, NRA Spokesperson. “Gloom and doom predictions of ‘wild west’ scenarios in states with strong gun rights have proven time and again to be nothing more than scare tactics. Since 1991, when the nation’s total violent crime rate hit an all-time high, 26 states have adopted Right-to-Carry laws, and the violent crime rate has declined by more than half, to a 43-year low, and the murder rate has declined to an all-time low. We know that criminals are less likely to target someone who may be armed.”

Background information on HJR 1009

  • HJR 1009 would lead to a statewide ballot initiative aimed at making a critical improvement to the current Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment in the Oklahoma constitution.
  • The current Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment dates back to statehood in 1907.
  • Over the years, the state courts have greatly weakened the gun rights amendment.
  • This amendment would strengthen Oklahomans’ right to use a firearm for personal defense, hunting, and recreational shooting.
  • HJR 1009 would amend the state constitution to protect:

“the fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and bear arms, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, nonlethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as ammunition, and the components of arms and ammunition, for security, self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil power, when thereunto lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose shall not be infringed.”

  • The amendment would also require future courts to hold any law that might infringe on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to a higher level of legal scrutiny, sometimes called the gold standard.
  • This amendment would prevent the State from imposing “registration or special taxation upon the keeping of arms, including the acquisition, ownership, possession, or transfer of arms, ammunition, or the components of arms or ammunition.” This is an important protection for gun owners in Oklahoma, given that communities around the country are imposing arbitrary taxes on guns.
  • Voters in three other states have already overwhelmingly passed similar amendments to their state constitutions strengthening their right to keep and bear arms, Louisiana, Missouri, and Alabama.

Background information on SB 3098

  • HB 3098 would allow a law-abiding citizen to open carry a firearm without the fees associated with obtaining a carry permit. 
  • HB 3098 does nothing to change the current permitting process in the state of Oklahoma for those individuals who still prefer to conceal carry a firearm and receive reciprocity in other states. 
  • HB 3098 would end the ban of open carry of firearms in place since the beginning of statehood.
  • 30 states allow for “constitutional or permitless carry”, meaning no license or permit required.
  • 15 states (including Oklahoma) allow for open carry with a permit.
  • 5 states that ban open carry completely.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.