The Case Against Oklahoma's Gun Bill

| by Nicholas Roberts
Oklahoma State Capitol Oklahoma State Capitol

A new bill in Oklahoma, which passed the state Senate on April 20, would allow anyone in Oklahoma to carry a gun, without any training or a permit.  

It would also allow anyone over the age of 21 who is not a convicted felon to carry a gun as long as it is visible to the public, KWTV reports.

It is not hard to see why such measures are popular with some voters. The United States has a tradition of protecting the right to bear arms, and legislation like the new Oklahoma bill is seen by many voters as being "restorative" of this right.

Here is the problem: The right to bear arms does not exist in a vacuum, and opponents of the bill have several substantial reasons for standing against the legislation, none of which includes a desire to "disarm the populace" as Second Amendment devotees repeatedly and unendingly accuse their opponents of attempting to do.

More than two dozen businesses, universities and law enforcement groups have expressed opposition to the bill. Included among this group is the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, according to the NBA website.

Businesses are worried the new measures could override gun bans at private establishments, colleges and universities, and at public events hosted at public parks or fairgrounds.

"Until these issues can be addressed, we ask that these measures not move forward in the Senate," a letter addressing the legislation reads. In other words, the Oklahoma legislature appears to be favoring a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment over the more basic protection of private property rights, which is arguably what the entire Constitution is based on.

As University of Oklahoma President David Boren noted, the resolution could cause sports teams and athletic officials to avoid coming to Oklahoma if fans are allowed to bring guns into athletic events. And if that happens, sports teams and businesses in Oklahoma could lose money.

Ultimately, it could be a while before this bill is formally voted on as lawmakers may choose to make changes to it that would restart the legislation process. As it stands, the bill is too permissive and needs to include some kind of provision to at least allow for gun bans in private establishments and institutions.

Sources: KWTV, NBA / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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