Oklahoma lawmakers propose bill to close ‘gun loophole’ for felons

OKLAHOMA CITY – A pair of Oklahoma lawmakers have filed a bill that would protect felons from being punished if they were found riding inside a vehicle with drivers who are legally carrying a firearm.

Sen. Paul Scott and Rep. Jim Olsen teamed up to author Sen. Bill 46. The bill would remove language that prohibits a convicted felon or person serving on probation from riding in a vehicle as a passenger if there is a firearm in the car.

“The legislature has worked extremely hard in recent years to address prison overcrowding and to be smarter on crime in Oklahoma. This loophole has unnecessarily caused individuals to be put back in prison because they weren’t aware that the driver of the vehicle had a gun in the car,” said Scott, R-Duncan.  “If we don’t change this, we could be potentially putting peaceful individuals who are trying to restart their lives back in prison for up to ten years that had no ill intent to anyone.  They simply unknowingly got a ride from someone who is legally carrying a firearm in their vehicle.”

The bill was requested by the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association.

“A great example is ministers with conceal carry licenses who are concerned about giving felons a ride to church events. They’re trying to help the felon yet if they’re pulled over for a traffic violation, it could be devastating for the individual they’re trying to help,” said Scott. “The current law prohibiting felons from riding in a vehicle with a firearm was made before the state passed Conceal Carry in 1995.  The issue hasn’t been addressed since but it’s time to close this unfair loophole.”