Officials: Petition for permitless carry vote sits at 50,000 signatures hours before deadline

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma lawmaker and organizers who want to vote on a permitless carry measure have only a few hours before they are forced to turn in signatures to the Capitol.

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.

Officials say Lowe had to gather nearly 60,000 signatures by 5 p.m. on Aug. 29 in order to get the question on the 2020 ballot.

On Thursday afternoon, Lowe announced that they are still waiting for petitions to be turned into his office. At this point, he says they are still awaiting petitions to come in from across the metro and the Tulsa area.

So far, they have 50,000 signatures.

"We have done this in two weeks- 25,000 signatures a week," Rep. Lowe said.

Lowe called on people who still have petitions to turn them in before the 5 p.m. deadline, and anyone who still wants to sign the petition to go to one of the petition locations. 

"The people of Oklahoma want to vote on this issue," Lowe added.

Lowe said if they fail to get the needed signatures, they will explore other options.

The 2nd Amendment Association filed a protest against the petition earlier this week.  President Don Spencer says he's optimistic the law will go into effect as scheduled, but even if it doesn't, it's something Oklahoma voters will overwhelmingly support.  "There is no doubt in my mind that Oklahoman's want their 2nd amendment rights restored," Spencer told News 4.  "They should have never been taken away.  The people set very well and established that we want constitutional carry.  They sent the legislatures up here to do that, and that`s exactly what they did."

It could be weeks before we find out if there petition has enough signatures.  The Secretary of State's Office is waiting on the Supreme Court to rule on the protest against the petition before it begins to count the signatures.

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