OKLAHOMA CITY - A heated debate unfolded at the state capitol Thursday over a bill that would change our open carry law.
The bill passed the House.
It would allow Oklahomans to openly carry a gun without a permit.
It was the longest debate on the House floor Thursday.
Eventually, the bill did pass overwhelmingly, 73-15.
Under this bill, if you wanted to carry your weapon under your clothes or in your purse, you’d still have to get your concealed carry license.
But, if you wanted to carry a gun out in the open, under this bill, you would not have to go through any training or get a permit to do that.
Oklahoma’s open carry laws could change in a big way.
The bill that passed the House Thursday would do away with that training and permit you currently have to have to carry your gun in the open.
Representative Jeff Coody wrote the bill.
“It only allows individuals who are legally able to own a weapon, who are not felons, who are over the age of 21, for peaceful purposes, defensive purposes, to carry in the open without a permit,” Coody said.
Our current open carry laws went in to effect in 2012 and require a permit through the OSBI.
It also requires an 8-hour training course that teaches you what laws govern your right to fire your weapon.
“OSBI is a state agency and we will do what is the will of the state legislature, however we believe a more educated public is a better public no matter what that education subject is,” said OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown.
“This isn’t the wild west,” said Rep. Jason Dunnington.
Dunnington voted 'no' on the bill.
He was one of many who debated it on the House floor.
He said, if this bill becomes law, it could be a big safety issue for Oklahoma.
“So you have situations where you have gun shows and they don’t do background checks, and now you have someone that could go to a gun show, buy a gun without a background check and openly carry it anywhere they wanted in Oklahoma,” Dunnington said.
But, for supporters, they said it comes down to their 2nd amendment rights.
“I don’t want anyone who can legally own a weapon, who can legally purchase a weapon to have to ask the government permission to carry that weapon off their property, in the open,” Coody said.
Several other states have this law on the books.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.