OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to pass legislation to allow gun owner to carry their weapons openly without a state-issued license.
House Bill 3098 passed with a vote of 73-15, with 13 members not voting.
The bill sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Coody, Grandfield-63 (R), says it would allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry firearms openly without government interference. Coody said citizens who want to carry a concealed weapon would still be required to obtain a state permit.
Those in opposition to the bill questioned the need for the legislation. State Rep. Emily Virgin, Norman-44 (D), said it would eliminate the firearms training required to obtain a license. She said the measure could also increase incidents of domestic violence in the state.
The bill does exclude felons from open carry, but not people under a protective order. This may be addressed when the bill reaches the Senate.
State Rep. Mike Brown, Tahlequah-04 (D), argued that the state requires people to learn to drive to obtain a driver’s license, he then asked why a person should not be required to learn how to operate a gun before carrying one in public.
Coody replied, “Because driving is a privilege. The Second Amendment is a constitutional right.”
The House spent around two hours debating HB 3098, which was amended to only include openly carried firearms. The bill originally would have removed license and training requirements for concealed weapons as well.
Coody said that he had agreed to the modification of the bill because the original version would have cost the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which issues gun licenses, 15 to 18 percent of its revenue. He said far fewer people would choose to carry openly than concealed.