Constitutional carry bill passes 70-30 through House of Representatives


    OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - After about two hours of discussion and debate in the House Chambers the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 70-30 in favor of House Bill 2597 Wednesday.

    The bill would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a gun without a license.

    Last year, a similar bill passed in both the House and Senate. The then Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the bill.

    Officials said if HB 2597 would pass, it would not take away background checks but would take away the need for a license and the training required under the current law.

    "Moms Demand Action" volunteers marched into the Capitol Wednesday morning before session began, to drop off 2,400 signatures of people opposing the bill to Rep. Emily Virgin's office.

    "These are concerned moms all over the state that don’t want to take people's guns away but are very concerned for their children, their loved ones. They believe that if you have a gun, you should be well-trained, you should go through proper procedures just like you would with a car," said Lauren Van Allen, with Moms Demand Action.

    Van Allen said that in states that have passed a similar bill, aggravated assaults increase and believe it could rise in Oklahoma if HB 2597 would pass.

    "That’s why this is so dangerous to victims of domestic violence, future victims of domestic violence or someone who lives with someone who suffers from a mental health issue and is otherwise not a dangerous person, but at certain times they may not need to have access to guns," said Virgin. "At a time when we have an epidemic in this country of mass shootings and people all over country of people who have access to guns that shouldn’t have access. This is going in the absolutely wrong direction."

    "The petition shows concerned moms, dads and citizens that just felt like, if you’re going to conceal or open carry a weapon, you should do it the right way," said Van Allen.

    During session, some representatives also voiced their concerns about law enforcement safety, citing the deadly shooting in New York City Tuesday night.

    "Explain to me how it is a good idea that law enforcement officers, who have been trained, get caught up in crossfire on their own and putting guns in individuals who haven't been trained is a good idea. Please explain that to me," said a representative.

    Those in favor of the bill argued all Oklahoman's deserve the right to lawfully carry a gun to defend themselves.

    "Responsible gun owners will seek out training on their own," said Rep. Jon Echols.

    The bill will move forward to the state Senate next.

    "We will continue to fight until we don’t have a fight left," said Van Allen. "We’ll take it to the governors office. Whatever we need to do."

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