AP Photo/Eric Gay
It took us a long time to have so many of our gun rights restricted to a significant degree. It didn’t happen in one fell swoop but in slow increments. A new law here, a new law there, all while most people figured that would be enough.
A while back, gun rights advocates recognized what was going on and hit the brakes. We stopped giving ground and started demanding our rights back. Slowly but surely, we’ve gained that ground back.
In Oklahoma, there’s some discussion about whether a recent law is a win for gun rights or not. For one gun rights advocate, it is.
People would be able to carry concealed weapons but not carry them openly in locations such as Gathering Place and the Tulsa Zoo under a state bill that has been sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.
House Bill 2010 is seen by some as a compromise between Second Amendment advocates and those wanting gun-free public places.
Under the bill, facilities under a public trust, such as Gathering Place and the Tulsa and Oklahoma City zoos, would be able to prohibit open carry at their facilities. However, people would be able to bring in concealed weapons.
“We consider this an advancement,” said Don Spencer, president of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, who helped write the legislation.
“I don’t consider this a compromise. I consider this saying you can carry a gun. … But I guess it depends on how you look at it.”
The bill went to Stitt’s desk on Thursday. If signed, it would become law Nov. 1.
I agree with Spencer.
As I understand it, it’s technically illegal to carry a firearm of any type in these places right now. The law would ultimately change that and make it possible to visit these facilities while armed. That’s a significant win, no doubt about it.
But is it enough?
I’m not a big fan of open carry. I’ve never hidden that fact from anyone, nor will I. However, I think it should be a choice for each to make. I don’t like the law telling people what is acceptable and what isn’t. This law, at least in these particular places, does that.
So no, I’m not thrilled with this fact.
On the other hand, as I’ve already noted, it’s currently illegal to carry a gun into these places at all.
If you think of gun rights as being on a scale with total disarmament on the left side and complete gun freedom on the right, the goal is to move the needle to the right. That should be the predominant focus for all gun rights advocates, to do whatever it takes to make that needle shift in the right direction.
This bill does that.
In time, Oklahoma residents can push to change the law to allow open carry in these places. They should. The lack of any issues with guns will probably make it easier.
But make no mistake. This is a win for Oklahoma.