Bill to allow citizens to carry guns without license, gaining traction

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - A new House bill that would allow anyone in Oklahoma to carry a gun without a license is moving forward.

House Bill 2597 was passed on a 9-2 vote by the House Public Safety Committee Thursday morning.

According to a news release, the bill was presented Thursday by Rep. Sean Roberts.

Roberts said the bill promotes constitutional carry for citizens who are not felons, adjudicated with mental illness or have domestic violence convictions.

Rep. Justin J.J Humphrey, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, told FOX 25 that if the bill is passed it would give citizens the right to carry a gun without going through the permit process, but would not change federal law.

"It doesn't change federal law. If you go into a store, all the laws that require that you to have a background check, that's not going to change that. What this bill does, it just allows you to carry a weapon without having to go pay for the permitting, background and all the things that you have to," said Humphrey.

Humphrey stressed if the bill would pass, it would not take away background checks for any person going to buy a gun.

"For you to go out and purchase a firearm, you still have to have that background check. I didn't take that away," said Humphrey. "We have a background check for you to purchase a firearm. So really, you shouldn't be able to have a firearm unless you went through a background check."

“I’m pleased that the Public Safety Committee voted today to support the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans across the state,” Roberts said. “Law-abiding citizens should have the ability to exercise their constitutional right to carry firearms without government interference.”

According to a news release, Roberts said the bill would prohibit illegal immigrants in the country illegally from possessing firearms and allows for continued restriction of firearms where carry is already prohibited.

The bill states: "The carrying of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded, by a person who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older or by a person who is eighteen (18) years of age but not yet twenty-one (21) years of age and the person is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard or was discharged under honorable conditions from the United States Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard, and the person is otherwise not disqualified from the possession or purchase of a firearm under state or federal law and is not carrying the firearm in furtherance of a crime."

"We have a lot of people with a limited income that can't afford to go and purchase the right to carry a firearm. Those may be the very people who are living in neighborhoods that may have the need to carry a firearm," said Humphrey. "So what this bill does, it gives all Oklahoman's the right."

FOX 25 reached out to Gov. Kevin Stitt's office Thursday to ask if he would sign the bill if it makes it through the Legislature. Press secretary Baylee Lakey responded saying: “The governor is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and will stand up for Oklahomans' right to keep and bear arms. We are not commenting at this time on any specific bills as there is still an extensive process ahead where legislation will be amended and debated on the floor before reaching the governor’s desk.”

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