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Oklahoma governor vetoes constitutional carry, says state still 'respects the Second Amendment

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons without a permit. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) vetoed a "constitutional carry" bill Friday, even though it passed both houses of the Legislature with veto-proof majorities and was strongly supported by state and national gun rights groups.

The bill, SB 1212, would have allowed Oklahomans to carry firearms without having to get a permit. Fallin, in a statement, defended her stance on the Second Amendment, which came under fire after the veto.

“Oklahoma is a state that respects the Second Amendment. As governor, I have signed both concealed-carry and open-carry legislation. I support the right to bear arms and own a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun," Fallin said in a statement.

Why did she veto the bill?

The bill passed the Senate 33-9 and passed the House 59-28, but concerns from law enforcement and local businesses played a part in her decision to veto.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation publicly expressed concerns about how the bill might negatively impact the safety and security of Oklahomans, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber said the bill hindered businesses from implementing safeguards against untrained people carrying firearms into their establishments, according to the Tulsa World.

Fallin, in her statement, said she believed the laws in place were reasonable and effective, while still respecting gun rights.

“Oklahomans believe that law-abiding individuals should be able to defend themselves," the statement read. "I believe the firearms requirement we currently have in state law are few and reasonable. Senate Bill 1212 eliminates the training requirements for persons carrying a firearms in Oklahoma. It reduces the level of the background check necessary to carry a gun.

"SB 1212 eliminates the current ability of Oklahoma law enforcement to distinguish between those carrying guns who have been trained and vetted, and those who have not," Fallin continued.

Oklahoma currently requires gun owners to have a permit to carry a handgun and recognizes permits from all other states.

How did gun rights advocates respond?

Oklahoma's Second Amendment Association president, Don Spencer, told the Tulsa World this was a missed opportunity for Fallin.

“She had a great opportunity to defend our liberty and leave a wonderful legacy and she chose not to,” Spencer said.

Chris Cox, the National Rifle Association executive director for legislative affairs, said gun rights supporters will look to another governor to enact their agenda.

"Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor,” Cox said, according to The Associated Press.

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