Bill exempts guns made here from federal control
The Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act was approved unanimously last week by the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee.
House Bill 2021 would exempt guns or ammunition made in the state from federal regulations, but specifies that to qualify for the exemption the guns must be clearly marked as “made in Oklahoma” and kept within state boundaries.
“The Second Amendment is clear – the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” said Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, HB 2021 author. “The federal government should not interfere with that amendment or how a state wants to administer that right within its boundaries. We must, as a state, protect this amendment and the entire Bill of Rights, because the founders wanted the states to have control and not the federal government.”
Rep. John Bennett, another one of the bill’s numerous authors, said state lawmakers have been flooded with requests to resist further federal regulation of Second Amendment rights.
“My constituents have called me, phoned me, e-mailed me and talked to me in person,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “Oklahomans generally support the position of the National Rifle Association, which is that mentally-healthy, law-abiding citizens should not be restricted in their right to carry a firearm. Our legislation exempts guns and ammunition produced and sold locally from federal regulations.”
Bennett said he and several lawmakers have sent letters to gun manufacturers inviting them to Oklahoma.
“Additionally, I have joined Reps. Sean Roberts, Dustin Roberts, John Enns, Dan Kirby and R.C. Pruitt in signing and we sent a letter requesting numerous gun manufacturers come to Oklahoma. We have sent them a copy of HB2021 as well as touted our pro-Second Amendment laws we have in this state, as well as the citizens’ support, to ask these companies in other states to move out of their anti-gun states and move here to Oklahoma. Most recently we sent a letter to MagPul Industries in Boulder, Colo.,” Bennett said.
“The Colorado State Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed strict gun laws that cripple MagPul Industries. We believe we are better suitors for this company in Oklahoma, so we are courting these companies to relocate to Oklahoma and create hundreds if not thousands of jobs.”
Roberts and Bennett are authors of the measure, along with state Reps. Mike Ritze, Josh Cockroft, Jadine Nollan, Arthur Hulbert, Mike Reynolds, Jason Murphey, Sally Kern, Lewis Moore, Mike Sanders, Mike Turner, Tom Newell, Dan Fisher and David Brumbaugh.
Guns in private schools
Legislation that would give private schools the ability to set policy in regards to firearms received unanimous support by a House committee. House Bill 1622, by state Rep. Sally Kern, was approved by a 12-0 vote in the House Public Safety Committee. Kern said private schools would be able to arm teachers to defend the school if they so choose, under her bill.
“The bill allows private schools to set a policy for arming faculty to protect students and themselves if an active shooter were to come on campus. The bill does not mandate private schools do this. It just leaves the decision up to each governing board to make that determination. Private schools are private entities and the state has no business telling them who can and cannot carry a firearm on their property,” said Kern.
Churches are a good example of a private property on which a law-abiding gun owner might be charged with a crime for carrying a weapon on a Monday, during a church-run school’s hours, or have no charge on Sunday, when they are attending a service, Kern said.
Current law punishes gun owners who carry a firearm onto private school property with a felony charge, a fine of up to $5,000 and two years in prison.
Under Kern’s bill, the penalty would be a misdemeanor charge, a fine of no more than $250 and zero jail time.
“Although we now have open carry, there are a number of laws still on the books that severely penalize what could easily be a simple mistake by a law-abiding citizen,” said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. “Lawmakers are working to lower the penalties for some of these infractions, so that we are not jailing citizens that mean no harm.”
If approved by the House Calendar Committee, the legislation will be available for a hearing on the House floor.
Gun licensing renewals
Legislation approved by a House committee would allow individuals with a license to carry a firearm to renew their license online.
House Bill 1489, by Ritze, is intended to make license renewal more convenient, he said.
“I consider this legislation to be a government modernization bill because it basically puts another licensing process online for the convenience of all Oklahomans applying for the license,” said Ritze. “With any luck, one day individuals can obtain all licenses they need online rather than by going to some office and waiting in a long line.”
The measure was approved 11-1 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Economic Development and Financial Services Committee.