OKLAHOMA CITY – Religious leaders from all over Oklahoma have gathered outside Governor Kevin Stitt’s temporary office at the state capitol in opposition of a proposed permitless carry bill.
"We confess, Holy One, to making idols out of guns, even at the risk of our own children,” prayed Reverend Lori Walke with Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ. "Today, we choose our children over our false sense of security. God, hear our prayers."
Walke joined fellow church leaders and members of the group ‘Moms Demand Action’ at the state capitol on Monday morning to gather in prayer outside Stitt’s temporary office.
The group is speaking out about HB 2597, better known as permitless carry, which would allow Oklahomans 21 and older, 18 years old for veterans and active duty personnel, to carry a firearm without prior training or a permit.
"To even have the training that comes along with the current permit for open carry has done tremendous work in the state, and we just want a reasonable and responsible way for us to carry,” said Reverend Tim Blodgett with Southminster Presbyterian Church in Tulsa.
"We're here to just raise awareness with Governor Stitt about this piece of legislation, to pray,” said Reverend Blodgett .
"Governor Stitt has indicated that he would sign permitless carry, and we're really concerned that he is not hearing the voices of the faith community,” Walke said.
Backers of the bill, though, feel most people are responsible and will seek training out, even if it isn’t mandated by law. They also cite safeguards within the measure, like allowing private property owners and college campuses to set their own policies regarding whether or not people can carry while on the premises.
“It came through committee with relative ease, bipartisan vote, so I anticipate there will be questions,” said Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, earlier this month. “There will be debate, but I think it will pass overwhelmingly.”
The bill has passed the House and Senate committee. It is expected to make its way through the Senate sometime later this week.
"We want to make sure that the governor knows that we want more than thoughts and prayers. We want life,” Walke said.
Religious leaders and the group ‘Moms Demand Action’ will be returning at 9 a.m. Tuesday to the state capitol to rally, asking lawmakers not to sign the bill.