Organization fighting against petition to put permitless carry on the ballot

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A battle over the so-called 'constitutional carry' law is now raging in the public.

In February, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2597 into law.

“We want to make sure that we let Oklahomans know that we are going to protect their rights to bear arms,” Stitt said.

The law allows Oklahomans who are over the age of 21 to carry a firearm without a permit. If you are in the military, you only have to be 18-years-old.

Sen. Kim David stressed that 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 told News 4. "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."

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However, critics say this bill could make things more dangerous for women, and increase pressure on law enforcement officers.

"This bill puts upon new training obligations. A new standard that they have to interact with gun owners and this is something that I personally and also in my capacity as a senator for Senate District 16 cannot support," Sen. Mary  Boren said.

Months after the bill was signed into law, an Oklahoma lawmaker created a petition that would put the measure on the ballot.

“People in the State of Oklahoma can decide whether this is a good law or not,” said Rep. Jason Lowe.

Lowe has to gather nearly 60,000 signatures by Aug. 29 in order to get the question on the 2020 ballot.

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However, the Second Amendment Association is now fighting against that petition.

On Monday, the organization filed a protest with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Clerk's Office in hopes of blocking the new petition.

The Second Amendment Association claims the petition is misleading voters by telling them that the new law allows someone to carry a gun on a college campus.

"They are trying to inflame people, and get them to sign this under false pretenses, by claiming this will allow people to carry firearms at educational institutions,” Second Amendment Association attorney Kevin Calvey said. “That`s just not true.”

Rep. Lowe's attorney says they see the law differently. He says the group isn't misleading voters because the bill has a major loophole.

“The bill says for purposes of this law, the parking lot of a college, university, to technology center is not part of the college, university, or technology center,” Attorney Brian Ted Jones said. “So the way in which we express that in the gist is accurate.”

Rep. Lowe says regardless of what you think about the law, he just wants to give the people of Oklahoma a chance to have their say.

“That's what we're asking for,” Lowe said. “We're asking for people in the state of Oklahoma, not legislators who have gerrymandered seats, to decide this issue."

Don Spencer with the Second Amendment Association says delaying the law for a vote would just be a waste of time and money.

“A referendum while we think it would pass easily because it passed easily through the House and the Senate, would be a complete waste of time,” Spencer said. “Especially with the misrepresentation that is being portrayed, it’s completely unnecessary.”

The petition has until Thursday at 5 p.m.to collect more than 59,000 signatures. If the petition fails, the law is set to go into effect on Nov. 1.

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