Oklahoma residents will soon no longer need a license to carry a handgun.
The “constitutional carry” bill does away with the need for licenses, background checks, and mandatory training for gun owners in Oklahoma, had no problem getting the necessary votes in the state’s House of Representatives, with a vote of 70-30 and had even greater swiftness getting passed in the state’s Senate, with a vote of 40-6.
It was then signed into law on Feb 27 by new Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, and will come into effect on Nov. 1, WFAA reported.
The state’s previous Republican governor, Mary Fallin, surprisingly vetoed a similar bill last year, the Associated Press reported. The NRA at the time expressed dissatisfaction at Fallin’s veto as she was believed to support such legislation during her 2014 re-election campaign.
“Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor,” Chris Cox, NRA executive director for legislative affairs, said.
And ultimately, that is what happened. Stitt has also pledged to support constitutional carry during his election campaign, and last week followed through. He held a signing ceremony on Feb. 27, WFAA reported.
“As I traveled all over the state to all 77 counties, I heard from Oklahomans all over that they wanted us to protect their right to bear arms,” Stitt said. “I’m excited to sign this.”
The governor advocated for a provision on the bill that allows businesses the right to prohibit firearms on their property, to assuage business owners who may have helped stifle the previous bill.
Stitt said at the signing ceremony, “The best defense for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” via The Oklahoman.
Under the new law, anyone 21 and over has the right to carry a gun without a license. Those 18 or older can also carry a gun if they are in the U.S. military. Business and private property owners still have the right to restrict firearms. Public policy will still restrict firearms at certain locations like schools, casinos, bars, sporting events, and such, according to Koco News 5 and WFAA.
A felony conviction will also still remove the right of a person to own a gun, and certain firearms sales situations will require a background check, Koco News 5 reported.
More modifications to the law could take place before it goes into effect in November. A bill is going through the legislature now that would restrict open carry in zoos and some parks, but would allow concealed carry, Koco News 5 reported.
The law’s passage in Oklahoma brings the list of states with constitutional carry laws to 15. They include Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and New Hampshire, according to the NRA.
In a video on constitutional carry, Gun Owners of America executive director Erich Pratt talked about the significance of legislation such as this in states across the country.
“It basically protects the right of law-abiding Americans to carry a firearm without getting permission from the government. We exercise other rights without getting permission—freedom of speech, freedom to petition—these are things that we don’t need to get permission,” Pratt said. “Well, in the same way, law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to prove their innocence in order to protect themselves.”
Kentucky is also close to signing a constitutional carry bill, which has passed the state legislature and is awaiting signing by Governor Matt Bevin, WAVE reported.
“It’s not the role of state government to require training or collect the recurrent fees for law-abiding citizens to exercise his or her second amendment right,” Rep. Savannah Maddox said in a session of the Kentucky state legislature.