On May 4th, the House Conference Committee gave preliminary approval to House Bill 3098, legislation that would allow Oklahomans to openly carry guns without a license, training or background checks.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jeff Coody, says he needs signatures from seven committee members in the House or Senate before a hearing can be scheduled on the House floor before the session ends May 27, 2016 (“Sine Die”). If approved by the House, it goes to the Governor for signature and would then become law.
The bill would allow adults over 21 and without a felony conviction to openly carry firearms without a license, training or background checks.
According to U.S. Law Shield of Oklahoma Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles, “If the bill does not make it out of the House before the legislative session ends, the bill dies and is not carried over to the next session in 2017.”
“A new bill would have to be introduced and go through the whole process again if the legislature seeks to allow open carry without a permit in Oklahoma,” said Robles.
“If, however, the bill makes it out of the conference committee,” Robles adds, “it will be sent on to Governor Fallin for her consideration. It is not clear if she intends to veto this bill or not.”
The veto process in Oklahoma can get complicated. Basically, the process for a veto by the governor is:
Within 10 days after passage by the House and Senate, the bill is signed by the presiding offices of each chamber, the chief clerk of the House, the secretary of the Senate and then given to the governor. If legislative adjournment “Sine Die” has not occurred, the governor has 10 days (excluding Sunday) to act on the bill. (If it is sent to the governor within 5 days of adjournment, the governor has 15 days.) If the governor does nothing, does not veto it within that 10-day period (a “pocket veto”), it automatically is vetoed and does not become law. It becomes law only if the governor formally acts on it by signing it into law.
If the governor vetoes:
The Legislature can let a veto stand or attempt to override it. The governor can veto an entire bill or “line item” veto some parts of it and approve its other provisions. The Legislature may override either a straight or line-item veto by a two-thirds vote of both chambers, until sine die. After sine die, the governor may also “pocket veto” a bill by keeping it 15 days after the Legislature has adjourned without taking official action. With this approach, the Legislature does not have the opportunity to override.
With the end of the legislative session looming, it is important that the conference Committee act quickly to allow the legislature time to override a veto should that become necessary.
We will keep you informed as to the progress of this important piece of legislation.