OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One lawmaker is proposing a switch to the “Constitutional Carry” age requirement, from 21 to 18 years old.
Representative Jim Olsen, a Republican from Roland, filed HB1001, which would allow 18-year-olds to legally carry firearms of any kind.
The law currently allows for 18-year-olds to purchase long guns, including rifles and shotguns, but not handguns. The “loop-hole” is that handguns can be legally bought at gun shows or through other private sales.
Olsen said that carrying a firearm, even at 18, is a “God-given constitutional right.”
“You can exercise other constitutional rights, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion,” said Olsen. “There’s no reason why this right should not also be available to them.”
In 2019, Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2597, establishing Oklahoma as a “Constitutional Carry” state. That meant anyone 21 years or older could legally carry any firearm openly or concealed, even without a license. The only way an 18-year-old can legally carry is if they have a military designation.
Don Spencer is the President of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. He said this bill puts Oklahoma in line with the US Constitution.
“The right is very clear,” said Spencer, referring to the Second Amendment. “It’s an enumerated right. It says the right of the people to keep bear arms shall not be infringed.”
There is growing concern about access to guns given the increased number of mass shootings in America.
Spencer said that many shootings are happening in “gun free zones,” indicating that is the problem.
“We have consistently said that needs to end — that as soon as the second firearm shows up, these types of situations come to a quicker resolution and that needs to take place,” said Spencer.
Democrat Mickey Dollens, representative from Oklahoma City, said he grew up in rural Oklahoma and supports the Second Amendment. But he wants to see gun education become mandatory.
“I’m someone who grew up around firearms,” said Dollens. “I was trained and I went to hunter safety courses. But there’s a lot of good guys with guns who have zero experience, zero training or background when it comes to guns.”
The Democrat said this bill is a way for Republicans to distract from taking on bigger challenges.
“It just seems like just they’re running out of ideas, and they don’t want to tackle the real issues facing Oklahoma, like paid family and medical leave, ranked choice voting,” said Dollens. “Making sure that people who need access to health care have that available.”
House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson released a statement with a message similar to Dollens.
“We know putting guns in the hands of untrained, unlicensed young people will not make our communities safer,” said Munson, in the statement. “If we are going to consider gun laws in Oklahoma, we should be focusing on gun safety measures that honor the second amendment while protecting our loved ones and neighbors from gun violence.”