Group sues seeking to stop Oklahoma 'permitless carry' law

By SEAN MURPHY Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Democratic state representative from Oklahoma City and other advocates for more restrictive gun laws filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a new Oklahoma law that will allow people to carry firearms without a background check or training.

State Rep. Jason Lowe sued in Oklahoma County, arguing that the law violates a state constitutional requirement that bills deal with only one subject matter.

"This fight is far from over," Lowe said at a news conference. "We believe this law is dangerous."

Dubbed "constitutional carry" by its supporters, the bill signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt would allow most adults to carry firearms, concealed or openly, without the currently required background check or training. Exceptions would include anyone in the country illegally or those convicted of certain crimes. Firearms would still be prohibited in certain locations, including public buildings, schools, professional sporting events, casinos and bars. The bill, which was the first Stitt signed into law, is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1.

Lowe and other advocates for tighter gun laws already fell short of gathering enough signatures to send the issue to a vote of the people.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Lowe and the other plaintiffs argue that the bill deals not just with carrying firearms, but also with self-defense, a campus weapons ban, the transportation of firearms, preemption and other subjects.

"In short, like the numerous acts of the Legislature that have previously been struck down for violating the single-subject rule, HB 2597 addresses 'multiple subjects that are not germane, relative and cognate to a common theme and purpose," the lawsuit states.

Stitt's office declined to comment while the lawsuit is pending.

One of the law's biggest proponents, Don Spencer, executive director of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, said he believes Lowe's attempt is a last-ditch effort to derail the law and that it will ultimately fail.

"We're considering it kind of a Hail Mary attempt, and we're confident the attorney general's office will deal with it appropriately, and constitutional carry will go into effect on Nov. 1, as scheduled," Spencer said.

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Follow Sean Murphy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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At-home rape kit makers respond to Oklahoma cease-and-desist

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two companies marketing self-administered rape kits have responded to cease-and-desist letters sent by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, arguing that they believe there's a legitimate market for their products among some sexual assault victims.

Hunter's office says it's reviewing the correspondence and an investigation is ongoing, The Oklahoman reported.

New Jersey-based The Preserve Group LLC and New York City-based MeToo Kits Company marketed the kits with the intention of home use by women who don't want to report assaults to the police but still want the option of collecting evidence for future use, if needed.

Law enforcement officials, victims' advocates and others have raised concerns about the at-home practice, saying these kits are an inadequate replacement for a forensic medical exam.

The cease-and-desist letters say at-home rape kits break Oklahoma's consumer protection laws and wouldn't be admissible in court.

Hunter gave both companies 10 days to provide his office with "assurance of voluntary compliance," including an agreement that they will not sell their products in Oklahoma. Attorneys general in several states have sent similar letters.

Founders of both companies have said their goal is to empower survivors of sexual assault, not to discourage them from going to the police. Jane Mason, co-founder of The Preserve Group, argues that the evidence collected by the victims is just as admissible as evidence collected by law enforcement.

Both companies claim they are working to "constructively and deliberately" address the marketing concerns raised, however neither have directly said they would refrain from selling their products. As of now, MeToo's kits are not for sale and the Preserve kit is listed online as "currently unavailable."

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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Search to begin for graves of Tulsa race massacre victims

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The search for possible mass graves of Tulsa Race Massacre victims is set to begin.

The Oklahoma Archeological Survey is to begin subsurface scanning Monday afternoon in Oaklawn Cemetery in north Tulsa.

The process often called "ground-penetrating radar" is expected to continue through Thursday in the search for victims of the 1921 massacre that left as many as 300 dead on Tulsa's Black Wall Street .

The cemetery is one of three sites to be examined under an October declaration by Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum.

Bynum has said today's technology "is light years" ahead of what was available 20 years ago when a search of the sites was led by what was known as the Tulsa Race Riot Commission.

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