Having passed the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday morning by a 9-2 vote. House Bill 2597 now heads to the Oklahoma Senate Safety Committee — where Gun Rights Watch expects it to pass by a similar margin. If that happens, full votes in the OK House and Senate will follow and almost certainly pass Constitutional Carry. We have a preview of what that bill will look like, below.
HB2597 was sponsored by Representative Sean Roberts, who specifically intends the bill to grant Constitutional Carry back to citizens who are not felons, judged to have mental illness or have domestic violence convictions.
Rep. Justin J.J Humphrey, chairman of the Committee, stated that the bill would not change federal law. All of the normal background checks would still be required for the purchase of firearms, as well as keeping all federal gun-free zones in place.
Other important clauses in the bill:
- One clause specifically states that this bill includes concealed carry, lest there be any confusion about whether it covers only open carry.
- Another clause in the bill also makes it unlawful for illegal aliens in Oklahoma to be in possession of any firearm — a sensible move that more states need to consider.
- Further down it makes the point that this bill covers every place in the state, public or private, that is not a specifically prohibited gun-free zone.
- Any other restrictions are set aside to allow a person carrying a firearm to travel freely between their home and their vehicle, regardless of whether that requires them to travel through a gun-free zone.
- It mentions vehicles as places where carrying is always legal, no matter what — we suspect this means legal even if the vehicle happens to travel through an otherwise gun-free zone.
- Announcing to police officers that you are carrying a firearm would now become compulsory during the course of any arrest, detainment, or routine traffic stop, although the fine for failing to announce is not high ($100).
- Traveling in a vehicle with a loaded firearm would now be legal, except that rifles and shotguns may not have a round in the chamber.
- Confiscation of firearms during traffic stops by police officers is prohibited unless the person is arrested for another crime or the officer has probable cause that the firearm is illegal or used in the commission of a crime.
Governor Stitt's Press secretary Baylee Lakey responded to a question asking if the governor would sign the bill by 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.”
However, Governor Stitt was firmly quoted as saying during the campaign for his election that he would sign Constitutional Carry if it came to his desk.