OKLAHOMA CITY — The open carry debate in Oklahoma is back in the state Capitol as a petition to repeal constitutional carry joins two bills that gun owners feel limit their rights.
The petition that would create State Question 809 is dubbed the "Reinstate Permitting Requirements for Firearms Initiative". Rep. Jason Lowe, who is sponsoring the petition, says permitless carry is "dangerous", and has been "an utter disaster".
"We're asking for training and a permit in order to open carry a firearm," Lowe said. "We want to make sure our kids are safe. We want to make sure the people in the state of Oklahoma are safe as well."
As Lowe held a joint news conference Monday, Army veteran James Smith stood a ways off demonstrating against the measures he says would infringe upon his rights.
"If you're limiting our rights, a law-abiding citizen's rights, you're in the wrong. Period," Smith said. "For something to be passed that would immediately turn me into being a felon, and I haven't committed a crime that hurt someone else, it's absolutely mind-boggling."
He is also concerned with two new bills - House Bills 2940 and 2945. HB2940 would prohibit "large-capacity ammunition magazines", holding more than ten rounds of ammunition or more than 28 inches of shotgun shells. HB2945 would prohibit carrying assault-style rifles in cities with more than 100,000 people, which includes Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and Broken Arrow.
Devin Hughes with Oklahomans for Safe Communities is in favor of all three measures. He's nervous neither police nor responsible gun owners will be able to tell the difference between someone carrying to protect themselves and someone with bad intentions.
"People are perfectly fine with responsible gun ownership. But what we're looking at now is not responsible gun ownership," Hughes said. "This repeal isn't going to affect responsible gun owners in the slightest. Because regardless, responsible gun owners are going to get that training."
The petition that could create State Question 809 will need 95,000 signatures in 90 days to become a state question. If supporters reach that mark, the issue would be left up to the voters of Oklahoma.
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