Permission not Required: “Constitutional Carry” Bill Prefiled in Oklahoma

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A “Constitutional Carry” bill prefiled for the 2019 legislative session would make it legal for Oklahomans to carry a firearm without a license, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) prefiled Senate Bill 12 (SB12) on Dec. 13. The legislation would allow people older than 21 years of age to carry a weapon without a permit.

The bill also allows those who are younger than 21 to carry without a permit if they are a member of the military or National Guard. It also contains prohibitions on people convicted of certain crimes such as assault and battery, stalking, or violating a protection order. Other provisions prohibit open or concealed carry at locations such as government buildings, schools and sports arenas. Illegal aliens are also prohibited from open or concealed carry.

Oklahoma residents would still be able to obtain a license so they can carry in states that have conceal carry reciprocity with Oklahoma.

A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin during the 2018 legislative session.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing SB12 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

SB12 is scheduled for its first reading Feb. 4. It will then receive a committee assignment, where it will need to pass before the full House can consider it.

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