Oklahoma Governor Vetoes Constitutional Carry Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (May 14, 2018) – Late Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a so-called  “Constitutional Carry” bill that would have made it legal for most Oklahomans to carry a concealed firearm without a license. Passage into law would have also fostered an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) authored Senate Bill 1212 (SB1212). Under the proposed law, people 21 and over, along with military personnel18 and older, would have been able to legally carry a concealed firearm without a license.

Under SB1212, Oklahoma residents would have still been able to obtain a license so they can carry in states that have conceal carry reciprocity with Oklahoma.

As originally passed by the House, SB1212 simply allowed people to carry a weapon in a wildlife refuge or wildlife management area. But the House amended language authorizing permitless carry into the bill. The House passed the measure 59-28. The Senate passed SB1212 by a 33-9 vote.

In her veto message, Fallin said she supports “the right to bear arms and own a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun,” but claimed current firearms laws are “appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so.”

In a tweet, Tenth Amendment Center executive director Micheal Boldin said this is “another reason you can’t trust either major political party with protecting your rights.”

The Oklahoma legislature cannot override the veto because the session has adjourned sine die. In a tweet, Dahm said, “This is why we need to elect true proven conservatives with backbone rather than ‘campaign conservatives’ who will say whatever it takes to get elected.”

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

When states legalize permitless carry, it lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org campaign lead Scott Landreth said.

About Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.

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