On March 10, 2016, House Bill 3098 passed with an overwhelming 73-15 vote. Sponsored by state Representative Jeff Coody (R-63), HB 3098 would allow for the open carry of a handgun, rifle or shotgun for lawful self-defense without having to obtain a permit. This bill would allow a law-abiding citizen to open carry a firearm on their person without the fees associated with obtaining a carry permit. HB 3098 does nothing to change the current permitting process in the state of Oklahoma for those individuals who still prefer to conceal carry a firearm and receive reciprocity in other states.
In particular, the bill provides:
Section 1289.6 CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH FIREARMS MAY BE CARRIED
- A person shall be permitted to carry loaded and unloaded shotguns, rifles and pistols, open and not concealed and without a handgun license as authorized by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act pursuant to the following conditions:
- For lawful self-defense and self-protection or any other legitimate;
A Brief Civics Lesson:
On March 14, HB 3098 was signed and sent on to the Senate where it had its first reading that same day. After its second reading on the Senate floor, the bill will be assigned to a committee in the Senate for consideration. If the bill makes it out of committee, it will go before the entire Senate for consideration and vote. If it passes, it will go back to the House for consideration of any Senate amendments. If the House accepts and agrees with the Senate’s amendments, it is voted on again by the full House. If passed, it goes to the Governor for signature and becomes law. If the House does not accept the Senate’s changes, a conference committee is convened with the Senate and a report issued. If the report is not accepted, the bill dies or a request for further conference may be made. If the report is accepted, the bill undergoes a fourth reading and final vote by the House. If approved, it goes once more back to the Senate for consideration and vote. If passed, it goes to the Governor for signature and becomes law.
On March 21, 2016 the bill was referred to Public Safety Committee and then to the Appropriations Committee, where it was withdrawn from both committees on April 4 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee where it stands as of April 4, 2016, awaiting action by this committee. It may be heard as early as Wednesday, April 6.
However, as this bill is not law and is subject to revision, the language in this current version should not be relied upon, unless the Governor signs the bill as is and does not send it back to the Legislature for further consideration or revision.
In addition to HB 3098, the Legislature was active in introducing other pro-gun rights measures, including HJR 1009, a House joint resolution to place on the ballot a Constitutional amendment to make it a fundamental right for the citizens of Oklahoma to keep and bear arms for security, hunting, recreation, or for any legitimate purpose. On March 21, HJR 1009 was referred to the Senate Rules Committee, where, like HB 3098, it awaits further action. As of April 4, 2016, it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
HB 2834 removes the felony penalty for pointing a firearm if done in self-defense. Having passed the House on March 3, it was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Public Safety Committee after its second reading on March 16, 2016. No hearings have yet been scheduled, although there is an effort underway to have it heard on April 7, 2016 by the Committee.
HB 2427 adds the term “handguns” to the definition of a firearm in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, as well as further clarifying what constitutes firearms. After passing the House and being sent to the Senate on March 9, it, too, was referred to the Senate Rules Committee, where no further hearings are scheduled as of April 4, 2016.
The Senate was active as well, passing SB 1185 which modifies reciprocal agreements to allow persons visiting Oklahoma in possession of a firearm authorized for concealed carry upon the authority of a state that is a non-permit carry state and the person is in compliance with the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, the person would be authorized to carry a concealed or unconcealed firearm in Oklahoma. It was sent to the House on March 1 where it was assigned to the Public Safety Committee on March 9, where it was approved by the Committee on March 28, 2016 and sent back to the House for further consideration.
Once more, these bills are not the law and the language contained in these proposed measures should not be relied upon until such time as they become law.
We will continue to follow these measures and keep you informed as to their status as they progress through the system.