New Gun Legislation Sparks Statewide Debate

Dylan DelCol, Reporter

In late February, newly inaugurated Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, signed into law a measure that would allow Oklahoma residents age 21 and over to carry a gun without requiring a permit.

The bill established Constitutional Carry across the state and is set to take effect on 1 Nov 2019.

Though it did away with mandatory training and license fees, it retains a ban on gun sales to convicted felons and the mentally ill with mandatory background checks to enforce it.

It also established reciprocity for its gun laws with other states with similar laws.

It has been heralded as a triumph by 2nd Amendment advocates, and sharply criticized by gun control supporters newly igniting public debate over gun control in Oklahoma.

In an opinion piece, the Stillwater News Press expressed its doubts about the new bill. They called the loosening of restrictions a “bad idea,” and said it would “put more guns in more hands of untrained people.”

Though a self-declared advocate of the 2nd Amendment, the paper’s staff thought that the bill was “unneeded,” citing how it removed mandated training that ensured competency.

Gun rights advocates such as the Gun Owners of America dismissed these concerns, and said that it “celebrates Oklahoma for becoming the 16th permit-less carry state.”

This isn’t the first time that this same bill has inflamed the gun control debate; last year it was sent through Oklahoma state congress but was vetoed by then-Governor Mary Fallin.