OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than a week after a permitless carry bill was signed into law, law enforcement officials are speaking out about the measure.
House Bill 2597 allows for anyone who is 21-years-old or older to carry a firearm without a permit. The age requirement for veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel is 18 or over.
Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, stressed the bill doesn’t change federal background checks required by law to purchase a firearm, and private property owners will still have the right to allow or deny concealed or open carry on their premises.
“We allow for people in other states to be able to carry in this state without a permit,” David said. “This bill simply allows law-abiding citizens that wish to carry a weapon to be able to do that in our state also without paying for the permit.”
Supporters of the bill have stressed, while the bill doesn’t require training, it does not stop anyone from seeking it.
However, not everyone was on board with the bill.
“We had hundreds of volunteers that talked with lawmakers, that urged lawmakers to oppose this,” Moms Demand Action volunteer Cacky Poarch said. “If you need a driver’s license to drive a car, you should have a permit to use a gun. I still believe that.”
On Friday, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty spoke about concerns his department has regarding the new permitless carry law.
Citty says that he is concerned about the law allowing irresponsible people to carry guns, adding that he feels like this "is the wrong direction."
"Saying it makes communities safer is a pretty tired and old statement, as far as I'm concerned," he said.
Citty says that he believes people have a right to protect themselves, but he doesn't believe this law is the right way to do that.
"People have a right to protect themselves, protect their home, protect their business, but there needs to be checks-and-balances," Citty said, adding that he believes the bill will result in an increase in deaths.
"Good people make mistakes," Citty added, saying he fears this will increase the risk to police officers.
In light of the new law, Citty says police will have to update their training policy in order to respond to more people who may be armed during everyday calls.
The bill goes into effect Nov. 1, 2019.