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Proposed measure on permitless carry passes Senate committee

OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill allowing for permitless carry in Oklahoma passed in a Senate committee Wednesday morning after passing the full House last week.

House Bill 2597, authored by House majority floor leader Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, was heard in the Senate appropriations committee on Wednesday. The bill allows for anyone age 21 or over to carry a firearm without a permit. The age requirement for veterans, active duty, and reserve military personnel is 18 or over.

The proposed measure passed the Oklahoma House last Wednesday by a vote of 70 to 30.

On Wednesday, the measure passed the Senate appropriations committee by a vote of 18-4 without debate. It was presented by Sen. Kim David, R-Porter.

"It’s come down to the point now where it’s just costing Oklahomans a lot of money to be able to carry a permit," Sen. David told News 4 after the committee hearing. "With so many states going to constitutional carry or permitless, they can carry in our state without paying that fee. So, it’s almost like we’ve been penalizing our citizens to be able to carry a weapon."

The group Moms Demand Action attended Wednesday morning's hearing. Oklahoma City group leader Jennifer Birch said she was disappointed with the outcome and felt the legislation was dangerous.

"I do feel that people will end up dying, because of this type of legislation, if it passes the Senate and is signed by Governor Stitt, it takes away our permitting process which includes a background check and basic safety training," Birch said.

The measure is now eligible to be heard on the Senate floor. Governor Kevin Stitt said he had not read the complete bill yet, but he has long expressed his support for measures allowing constitutional carry.

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