The Thunder joined with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, several big-name universities and an assortment of other organizations in opposition of bills that would allow for permitless open carry.
Under the bill, anyone age 21 and older could carry a firearm in the open – without getting a license, permit or any sort of training.
“That actually sometimes makes me a little nervous,” said Kevin Maxfield, the director of training at Wilshire Gun Range. “The fact that you don’t have the training required to learn how to safely carry that firearm in public.”
Maxfield hears the questions about what’s sometimes known as ‘Constitutional Carry’ in his classes everyday.
He encourages his students to get concealed carry licenses, because it gives them more flexibility and choice on where they may take their firearms.
But, above all, the 20-year former marine pushes new gun owners to educate themselves.
“Everybody needs to continue that training, not just put that gun on their hip and think they’re ready for action, because they’re not,” he said. “It’s not common sense, and video games are never correct. This can be real life training absolutely, and we can try to make it as real as we can make it in this controlled environment, but it is still a controlled environment.”
The businesses also contend the bills would “jeopardize the rights of businesses to keep guns from being carried onto their private property” and “jeopardize the current ability of colleges to prohibit guns on campus,” should the measures become law.
The letter also questions “the ability of law enforcement officials to protect the public’s safety.”
The National Rifle Association is backing the legislation, which convincingly passed the senate late Wednesday.
“We have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortensen told NewsChannel 4. “The Constitution does not say it’s a right you can only exercise if you’ve gone through whatever training. That’s not a part of the Constitution.”
Instead, the NRA stands in opposition to any barrier that could stand between the people and their firearms.
“We don’t like government mandates and infringements on peoples’ rights to protect themselves,” Mortensen said. “We want to remove barriers. And, anytime the government steps in and requires permits and fees, that’s an infringement on peoples’ Second Amendment rights.”
The House and Senate must now reconcile their respective approved versions of the bill, before sending it on to Governor Mary Fallin.
The following groups signed on to the letter sent to the senate:
- Oklahoma State Troopers Association
- City of Oklahoma City
- State Chamber of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce
- Tulsa Chamber of Commerce
- Oklahoma Banker’s Association
- Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- University of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State University
- Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
- Oklahoma Hospital Association
- Oklahoma Municipal League
- All Sports Association
- University of Central Oklahoma
- Comp Source Material
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University
- Independent Insurance Association
- Oklahoma State Game Warden’s Association
- Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Oklahoma State Fairgrounds
- Oklahoma State Fair
- Langston University
- Oklahoma Midsize City Coalition
- Oklahoma Credit Union Association
- Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Association