Earlier this month, Governor Stitt signed a bill into law that OKC city officials say could keep guns out and bring big concerts back into city parks.
“It was pretty obvious as we talked to concert promoters and people familiar with that industry that that was not likely to ever happen again,” said OKC Mayor David Holt.
Holt is referring to the Scissortail Park Kickoff concert back in 2019. The Kings of Leon played, but that was not standard for them or other big acts.
Holt says most performers have language in their contracts demanding to play in venues without firearms.
“Under our state law, you cannot prohibit guns at a city park,” said Holt.
So Oklahoma City got with gun rights advocates and state legislators to help draft HB 2645. It allows for gun-free zones for events, as long as organizers put up 8-foot fences and have walk-through metal detectors operated by commissioned police officers.
“This is common sense legislation that clarifies what the cities will have to do in order to have a gun free event and it puts up parameters to make sure that everyone at that event is safe,” said Rep. Jon Echols.
The House Majority Leader from OKC helped write what he calls a compromise law. Gun rights advocates are happy the legislation defines once-vague rules for parks.
“If they raise the height of the fence, they put walk thru metal detectors operated by commissioned peace officers, yeah they can stop weapons going into that event. For all the other many, many events a person’s Second Amendment rights are being secured, making sure they can carry a concealed handgun into that event,” said Don Spencer, President of the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association.
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City officials say concert goers are already used to the security measures.
“We basically put Scissortail Park on an even footing with Chesapeake Arena and other typical concert venues, so that we can do the type of thing that we did with Kings of Leon again someday,” said Holt.
“I think it’s one of those common sense pieces of legislation that’s going to turn out great for the city,” said Echols.
Holt says there are no big events scheduled for Scissortail Park right now because they couldn’t even begin to have talks with big acts before the legislation was passed.