Oklahoma legalizes open carry without permit
Starting Nov. 1, residents of Oklahoma will be able to carry firearms without training or a permit. Governor Kevin Stitt signed the bill on Feb. 27, making it his first bill to sign since he took office.
“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.
Stitt doesn’t believe this will cause an influx in crime but deter it instead.
“I think the best defense for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Stitt said.
House Bill 2597 passed in the Senate by a vote of 40-6.
Currently, there are 31 states that allow open carry without a permit.
The law also allows active military, veterans and reserve who are at least 18 years of age to carry.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David says where guns are already prohibited, such as college campuses and some business, will remain gun free zones. She also encourages people to still have training, even though it is not required.
Sen. Carri Hicks and Sen. Kevin Matthews are concerned this bill will lead to more gun violence.
“We are a top 10 state in the worst quality of life for women and children,” said Hicks, “I think this particular law is further opening the gate to some devastation on those two particular groups.”
“In my district, more guns are not better, so I will be voting no,” said Matthews.
Oklahoma tries to make abortion illegal
On Feb. 20, the Senate passed a bill that would outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate Greg Treat presented the Personhood Act, Senate Bill 195, which will get rid of any pre-existing laws on pro-abortion if the 1973 decision is nullified. But the pro-life group says this will not help their goal of outlawing abortion.
“You no longer will need those regulations if the central holding of Roe or Planned Parenthood vs. Casey is eviscerated,” said Treat.
However, anti-abortionists, who claim they are different from pro-life, want abortion to be illegal and are hoping Senate Bill 13 will make that a reality. The bill claims that an unborn child “is entitled to the same rights, powers, privileges, justice and protections as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human person” from “the moment of fertilization.”
“In case of the life of the mother, that doesn’t exist. That’s just been a lie we’ve been told for the past 4 years. Tubal pregnancies, all of those circumstances, which are very rare, the medical (staff) still has processes that can treat the mother’s life and the baby’s life equal,” said Sen. Joseph Silk.
Many disagree with Silk, saying the issue is addressed at the federal level, and there is nothing the state can do about making abortion illegal.
“You have to ask yourself, why do you keep running unconstitutional legislation, when you know it’s unconstitutional. There’s not much we can do about it from a state perspective. It’s a federal issue,” said Oklahoma Representative Jason Dunnington.