OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that would increase the penalties for stealing firearms has moved forward in Oklahoma.

On Thursday, the Senate Public Safety Committee approved Senate Bill 859, which was authored by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.

The measure would increase the maximum prison term from two years to five years and increase the maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,500 for the theft of a firearm.

“I will always fight for the Second Amendment right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms to protect themselves and their families. We’re not talking about law-abiding citizens here – we’re talking about criminals who will use these stolen firearms to commit even more crimes,” Weaver said.  “It’s a serious crime, and it should carry tougher penalties.”

Weaver is the former head of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. He said the theft of firearms is a major public safety concern for law enforcement.

“I promise you, anyone who would break into your home or vehicle to steal a gun is very likely going to be using that firearm to commit additional crimes, from robbery to murder,” Weaver said.  “In visiting with Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley about firearm theft, he told me in 2022 alone, there were 655 guns stolen from vehicles.”

Senate Bill 859 will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.