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Oklahoma on the verge of expanding gun rights with 'constitutional carry' bill

The Oklahoma Senate passed a constitutional carry bill that allows owners to carry guns without a permit. (Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)

Oklahoma could soon be a “constitutional carry” state after the state Senate passed a bill allowing law-abiding residents to carry firearms without having to get a license, KOCO-TV reported.

Senate Bill 1212 was sent to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk for signature, having already passed in the state House in late April.

What about the bill?

The bill, which was met with some controversy in light of the current gun control climate, passed the Senate on a 33-9 vote.

It would amend Oklahoma law to no longer require a government-mandated license for “the carrying of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded, by a person who is at least 21 years of age or older, or 18 years of age but not yet 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.”

The law would disqualify people who have been convicted of assault and battery, domestic abuse, stalking, or illegal drug use or possession.

There are still some limits to where gun owners can carry their weapons, such as schools and government buildings.

“Would it surprise you that the majority that have committed heinous crimes either have mental health conditions or the background checks have not been followed up?” state Rep. Justin Humphreys said. “We’re failing on that end. We need to concentrate on that end and not hinder our law-abiding citizens.”

Any opposition?

Although the bill passed easily through Oklahoma’s Republican-heavy Legislature, there were some opposed to expanding gun rights so soon after the mass shootings.

“Can you explain to me why I should have to go pay for a license or an identification card in order to carry out my even more fundamental right to vote, but I shouldn’t have to to carry a weapon?” Democratic state Rep. Shane Stone asked.

While Stone said he believes the bill is inconsistent with the Constitution, he told Fox News that he doesn’t expect Fallin to veto it.

Moms Demand Action also released a statement of opposition:

Oklahoma’s strong permitting standards help keep our communities safe. Permitless carry is an incredibly dangerous policy that will make it easier for people with violent histories to be armed in public.  Make no mistake about it, today the politicians who supported this bill voted against public safety.

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