Oklahoma was close to joining a dozen or more states that allow law-abiding citizens to carry open or concealed without a permit. That was until Gov. Mary Fallin — a Republican — vetoed the measure Friday.
“Oklahomans believe that law-abiding individuals should be able to defend themselves. I believe the firearms requirement we current have in state law are few and reasonable. Senate Bill 1212 eliminates the training requirements for persons carrying a firearms in Oklahoma. It reduces the level of the background check necessary to carry a gun,” said Fallin in a statement.
Fallin went on to say that the bill eliminates law enforcement’s ability to distinguish between “trained and vetted” concealed carriers and everyone else.
“Again, I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so,” she concluded.
Senate Bill 1212 cleared the state House by a vote of 59-28 and the state Senate by 33-9. Given that the Legislature doesn’t reconvene until next year, there’s no immediate opportunity to override the veto.
The good news is that Fallin will not be governor in 2019. The Oklahoma Constitution limits governors to a maximum of two terms in office. First elected back in 2010, Fallin is in the last year of her second (4-year) term.
“Gov. Fallin vetoed this important piece of self-defense legislation despite the state legislature’s overwhelming approval of the bill and her commitment to NRA members to support constitutional carry when she ran for reelection,” said Chris Cox, NRA executive director for legislative affairs, in a press release.
“Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new, and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor,” added Cox.
Why did Fallin really veto the measure? It’s doubtful that it had anything to do with “public safety.” A quick case study of the other states that have enacted Constitutional carry will illustrate that there was no statistically significant rise in gun crime following the rollout of the permitless standard. None. Society didn’t suddenly descend into chaos because people could carry firearms like the founders intended.
If the public safety argument doesn’t hold water, what else could it be? Follow the money.
As reported by USA Today, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation opposed the measure because it could “erode public safety.” But also because it would “lose nearly $5 million annually in licensing fees under the new law and have to eliminate about 60 full-time positions.”
It’s not cheap to get a carry permit in the Sooner State. First-time applicants (and expired renewals) are $100 a pop for a five-year license. Ten-year licenses run $200, according to the OSBI website.
On-time renewals for a five-year license cost $85 and $170 for a 10-year license.
State bureaucrats don’t want to give up that revenue stream. It appears Gov. Fallin agreed that keeping the money pouring in is more important than expanding the rights of law-abiding citizens.