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We had Tim Gillespie from OK2A as our speaker at our July meeting last week. Tim always does a great job and his speaking times are always extremely interesting. I took a lot of notes, so will do my best to summarize the meeting here.

Tim was brought in to give a legislative update on what has been going on and what is coming up.

It has been a pretty productive year this year, when it comes to the legislative area in Oklahoma. Below I will give a summation of the bills that were passed this year. All bills that were passed this year when it comes to the gun legislation will take effect on November 1st.

HB1314 & HB1462 both passed. These bills clarified the class size for permit classes and instructor issues. Most people won’t realize these changes, but it fixes up some language to improve things.

HB2170 repealed the prohibition on spring assisted knives. Currently spring assisted knives – a common pocket knife that many people carry – are illegal. This bill fixes that.

SB173 is basically an open carry clean up bill. It also gives immunity from liability for any business that allows people to carry concealed or unconcealed. it also gives immunity from liability for any employer who allows someone to carry (concealed or unconcealed). Places of worship are included in this as well.

This also clarifies the prohibited places (Section 1277) in the Oklahoma Self Defense Act. It was always just ‘accepted’ that going into a place of business with a ‘no carry’ sign on the door was a trespassing violation. But, it was never spelled out. So, this clarifies it, so that it truly just IS a trespassing violation. So, if you are asked to leave and you refuse and have the cops called on you, you will get a ticket for trespassing.

This also allows for a ‘victims protective order.’ The sheriff will have to give an individual who wants to be able to carry due to a threat to their life or safety, a temporary permit until they obtain their handgun license from OSBI. This makes it so that someone does not have to wait 6 months to get their handgun license back from OSBI to be able to legally carry.

HB1558 which is the Bus Carry bill is being held over to the next session and is expected to be signed by the governor by the end of February. This bill will allow individuals to carry on a bus. Currently it is illegal and classified as ‘hijacking’ if anyone (even the owner of a bus) steps foot into a bus while carry a handgun. How insane is that?!

HB1622 is an extremely important bill this session. It restores the private property rights of private schools by allowing private schools to be able to have their own weapons policy. This will allow private schools to be able to have teachers who are armed and have taken the necessary classes required by the private school. This also makes it so that the meeting of elected officials is no longer a prohibited place. Currently, one cannot carry (concealed or unconcealed) when an elected official is present.

Again, all of these bills take effect November 1st. We started out this year with 72 gun bills and it always has to be whittled down. Some of them were combined, because there were a lot of clean up bills.

The good news with Oklahoma is that out of these 72 gun bills that were brought before the House and Senate, only one of these bills was an ‘anti-gun’ bill. This bill would have added to the list of prohibited places in the Self Defense Act by making public parks, sporting arenas and a few other places, places where someone could not carry.

That is the run down for this session. There are a lot of exciting things in the works for next year’s legislative session. OK2A is hopeful that a lot of progress will be made next year, because it is an election year and as Tim said, “They love gun bills on election year.”

The OK Senate is expected to prove to be the biggest problem next year with further gun bills. This is a sad commentary on the Oklahoma Senate, which has a majority of Republicans. As was mentioned last week, the Republicans are the ones fighting OK2A the worst. It comes as no surprise to me, because many times Republicans do not have the back bone to stand on their principles and for what is right.

I’m extremely thankful for Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association (OK2A) and the work they have done & continue to do. In the last 3 years, they have gotten through 28 different gun measures. Not the least of which was the open carry bill last year. They have done an outstanding job! So much so, that they were asked by a legislator one time if there was an anti-gun group in Oklahoma as organized and successful as them. Thankfully there is not at the moment. Oklahomans like their guns, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. And hopefully it’ll stay that way.