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Bill to undo Oklahoma's permitless carry fails in committee

Carmen Forman
Gannett Oklahoma

Another attempt to undo Oklahoma’s permitless carry law failed Thursday.

Oklahoma’s House Public Safety Committee quickly scrapped legislation to undo the law that allows most Oklahomans to carry a firearm without a permit.

With no debate, the committee killed House Bill 3357 from Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, on a vote of 11-1.

“I believe this law is absolutely dangerous,” Lowe said. “It’s a ticking time bomb, and it’s been an utter disaster.”

Oklahoma Second Amendment Association President Don Spencer refuted Lowe's claims and pointed to the vote tally, which included a Democrat voting against HB 3357. Rep Matt Meredith, D-Tahlequah, voted with the Republican majority and against HB 3357. Last year, he voted against permitless carry in the same committee.

"We’re seeing it’s not as dangerous as Rep. Lowe has made this out to be," Spencer said.

House Public Safety Chairman Rep. Justin Humphrey said he opposed HB 3357, but that Lowe and Oklahoma residents deserved for the bill to be heard.

Lowe said he expected the lopsided vote. Nonetheless, he said he felt compelled to try to do everything possible to fight the law that took effect in November.

"I think there’s a disconnect with the Legislature and the voters in the state of Oklahoma," he said. "I believe that voters do not want guns in restaurants, they don’t want guns in schools and also in parks, and they don’t want an individual just walking around with an AR-15, especially without any training or a permit."

Republican majorities in Oklahoma’s House and Senate overwhelmingly approved permitless carry last year. It was the first bill Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law.

But Lowe isn't giving up yet. He recently filed an initiative petition to ask voters to repeal permitless carry. To put proposed State Question 809 on the ballot, supporters will have to collect nearly 95,000 signatures in 90 days.

Last year, Lowe, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Young Democrats of America sought a statewide vote on the permitless carry law, but fell short of the required signatures to put the question on the ballot.

Spencer said he's confident the initiative petition will fail if it gets on the statewide ballot.

"In a Trump election with protecting constitutional rights, the people will finally lay this issue to rest, if it even gets to that point," he said.