Oklahoma is already one of the most Second Amendment-friendly states in the nation, with Constitutional Carry going into effect last year and efforts to declare the state a Second Amendment Sanctuary underway, but lawmakers are also pushing a bill that would end the use of the federal NICS system for background checks on gun purchases.
House Bill 1630 would make a number of changes to state law, but the move away from NICS is what’s garnering the most attention and opposition.
“A person with a mental health illness, a person that has been diagnosed, a person that has been, that has a tendency for violence, that person can now purchase a firearm,” said State Rep. Jason Lowe, (D) OK House District 97.
There’s no background check, there’s no protection to the citizens of the state of Oklahoma, as far as making sure that that person does not get a firearm and causes deaths,” said Rep. Lowe.
Lowe, who repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) tried to block the state’s Constitutional Carry law from taking effect, is simply wrong about what the change would mean for those buying guns at retail in the state. State Rep. David Hardin, who’s the sponsor of HB 1630, says the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation would simply take over running background checks on gun buyers.
“As far as background checks they’re going to look into it if you pass an OSBI background check then I’m pretty sure you don’t have any mental issues you’ll get a more thorough check through the OSBI than you would the NICS system,” said State Rep. David Hardin, (R) OK House District 86.
And supporters of the bill were happy to see it pass.
“I’m elated because I can go to a gun show and get that gun at the show. Right now with all the gun purchases going on the NICS system is back up. It can take up to three days if you’re deferred they just never contact the gun broker back,” said Timothy Harper, who came to support HB1630.
Despite the off-base objections from Democrats like Lowe, HB 1630 sailed through the House on Monday by a vote of 78-18.
Meanwhile, a Senate bill that would establish Oklahoma as a Second Amendment Sanctuary state continues to gain support from a number of lawmakers. Sen. Warren Hamilton says the legislation would pre-empt enforcement of federal gun laws in the state if they violate the Second Amendment rights of residents.
“SB 631 states that the gun laws as they exist today are as restrictive as they’re ever going to be, and that they cannot be added to,” Hamilton said. “No governmental agency has the Constitutional authority to restrict magazines, ammunition, modern sporting rifles or AR pistols. This bill is simply a red line that clearly defines the limits of governmental authority regarding our unalienable, God-given, blood-bought, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
“I’ve been a member of several Second Amendment advocacy groups over the years, including the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association – a supporter of all Second Amendment Sanctuary State bills – and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). JPFO, specifically Alan Korwin, provided invaluable assistance in producing this bill.”
SB 631 has already cleared one committee, but still has a way to go. In looking at the legislation itself, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of enforcement mechanism against the federal government if, say, Joe Biden’s gun ban were to become law, so it’s unclear (to me, anyway) what the actual impact of that bill would be if it is eventually signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
There are also a number of other pro-gun bills in the Oklahoma legislature, and protecting the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans appears to be a top priority for a number of lawmakers. Hopefully they’re getting plenty of encouragement from their constituents, and if you’re a resident of the Sooner State who hasn’t contacted your representative and state senator, now would be an excellent time to do so.