Officials: Petition seeking to get permitless carry on ballot falls short

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma lawmaker and organizers who wanted to vote on a permitless carry measure say they were several thousand signatures short of putting the measure on the 2020 ballot.

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.

Hours before the deadline, Lowe said that they had roughly 50,000 signatures but were still waiting for some petitions to be turned in.

Now, we're getting a better idea of the official count.

An attorney for the organization told News 4 that the official signature count stands at 37,057, which is well short of the 59,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.

Lowe said they will explore other options to prevent the law from going into effect in November.

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