OKLAHOMA CITY – The ongoing debate over guns laws finds a new battleground.
A new bill has been filed at the statehouse that would make it legal to carry firearms, open or concealed, on buses in Oklahoma.
Since 1980, it’s been illegal to carry concealed weapons onto city buses.
The open carry law enacted last year essentially superseded the old law.
For months city leaders wanted to close that loophole and ban all weapons on buses but some in the Capitol are going the opposite direction.
“Those that use public transportation shouldn’t be penalized for protecting themselves,” Sen. Kyle Loveless said.
Loveless is sponsoring a bill that would permanently allow bus riders to carry firearms, open or concealed.
“I believe we have the Second Amendment for a reason,” Loveless said.
“We have this concern that public safety on buses might be compromised,” Metro Transit spokesperson Michael Scroggins said.
Officials with metro transit hope to pass a different law allowing the city to renew its weapons ban on buses.
“We would like to see the loophole closed so individuals are not carrying weapons on board our buses,” Scroggins said.
Some bus passengers agree with the city and don’t want guns next to them when they ride.
“We should not allow guns on city buses at all,” one rider said.
“You don’t want your kids riding next to someone with a gun do you,” another said.
“There is a third position that could be made,” local attorney Doug Friesen said.
Friesen suggests one solution is to ban open carry on buses but allow conceal carry.
“That would allow citizens to protect themselves and not be offended by others that are afraid of the sight of guns,” Friesen said.
The city council has put a gun ban among their top items to lobby for this year.
The legislative session kicks off next week.