Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoes 'constitutional carry' bill


Governor Mary Fallin today vetoed Senate Bill 1212, which would have eliminated the requirement to complete a short firearms safety and training course from a certified instructor and demonstrate competency with a pistol before carrying a gun in public.

The governor issued the following statement:

“Oklahoma is a state that respects the Second Amendment. As governor, I have signed both concealed-carry and open-carry legislation. I support the right to bear arms and own a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun.

“Oklahomans believe that law-abiding individuals should be able to defend themselves. I believe the firearms requirement we current have in state law are few and reasonable. Senate Bill 1212 eliminates the training requirements for persons carrying a firearms in Oklahoma. It reduces the level of the background check necessary to carry a gun.

“SB 1212 eliminates the current ability of Oklahoma law enforcement to distinguish between those carrying guns who have been trained and vetted, and those who have not.

“Again, I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so.”

The bill passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in a 59-28 vote in late April. It passed the state’s Senate on May 2 in a 33-9 vote. At the time, some lawmakers expected Fallin to pass the legislation, while the bill’s author, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, was wary that Fallin would choose to veto Constitutional Carry because “she had vetoed other gun legislation in the past,” he told Fox News at the time.

Some 11 other states have passed similar legislation, which, if implemented in Oklahoma, would have “eliminated the requirement to complete a short firearms safety and training course from a certified instructor and demonstrate competency with a pistol before carrying a gun in public,” according to the governor’s office.

Oklahoma currently requires a license to carry a handgun openly or concealed.

The NRA issued a statement in Washington blasting Fallin for what it was going back on her commitment to support such a gun carry law when she ran for re-election in 2014.

"Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor," said Chris Cox, NRA executive director for legislative affairs.

The state bureau of investigation, which issues handgun licenses, had opposed the bill, saying it would cost the agency about $4.7 million annually and result in the loss of about 60 full-time positions.

Many business leaders, including local chambers of commerce, also opposed the bill, giving the governor - who cannot run for re-election under term limits - plenty of political cover to veto it.

The Oklahoma legislature already has adjourned its session so lawmakers will not be able to revisit the issue until next year after the election of a new governor.

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