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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Local, state officials react to federal measures

  • In the wake of recent federal gun control measures introduced by President Barack Obama, Oklahomans have joined in the debate.
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  • In the wake of recent federal gun control measures introduced by President Barack Obama, Oklahomans have joined in the debate.
     
    In the middle of the argument is the proposed ban of certain semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, specifically those that hold more than 10 rounds.
     
    Obama's announcement has resonated soundly with several in the Sooner State, including backlash from several state officials like Rep. Justin Wood (R-District 26).
     
    "I believe [Obama's measures] are an attack on the Second Amendment rights of not only the state, but of the United States as well," Wood said.
     
    Wood added that since the president's announcement, his office has received over 100 phone calls about the measures, and they have been overwhelmingly negative.
     
    Wood does agree with one measure of Obama's 23 total measures.
     
    "Having emergency plans for schools, churches and other public places is a great idea, and it's one that I feel that we as a state will look into in the very near future," Wood said.
     
    On the other hand, Wood said, protecting children could be seen as just a shield that helps anti-gun lobbyists achieve their goals of eliminating gun rights.
     
    "It's pretty clear cut. Oklahomans are going to fight for their gun rights," Wood said, noting that nearly the entire Legislature supports Second Amendment rights.
     
    The State House of Representatives announced Thursday that Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) and 14 others co-authored House Bill 2021, titled the Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt guns and ammunition made in the state from any federal regulations.
     
    Local representatives Tom Newell (R-District 27) and Josh Cockroft (R-District 28) are listed as co-authors on that legislation, which can be seen as a response to potential federal legislation. Roberts said he considers the bill a "states' rights bill."
     
    The bill will use the same language as a 2009 bill authored by former Senator Randy Brogdon and "will give Oklahomans greater protection for their right to keep and bear arms," according to Republican co-sponsor John Bennett of Sallisaw.
     
    U.S. Rep. James Lankford highly supported Obama's call to keep schools safe, but disagreed with the president's use of the federal government to curtail gun rights.
     
    "State governments are best equipped to deal with local gun safety issues," Lankford said in a statement, adding that recent mass shootings have less to do with the availability of firearms and more to do with a "cultural shift" that requires "serious evaluation."
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    Gov. Mary Fallin told The Oklahoman Wednesday that she believes gun laws and ownership are not the issues Oklahomans should be discussing, but rather a need for better mental health care. Fallin said firearm bills should earmark more money towards mental health programs in the future, and keep firearms out of the hands of those with mental health problems.
     
    In a White House announcement, Obama pleaded with gun owners to uphold their Second Amendment responsibilities while at the same time keep "an irresponsible, lawbreaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale."
     
    2012 saw several instances of gun violence in the United States, including two major massacres perpetrated by persons with high-capacity firearms in Aurora, Co., and Newtown, Conn.
     
    Obama needs Congressional approval to renew a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault rifles which had been in place from 1994 to 2004, when it expired.
     
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    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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