Oklahoma’s nickname is the Sooner State, which originates from the days of the Land Run of 1889. Hold onto your horses! After this pro-gun legislative session, Oklahoma might earn another nickname: the Gun State.
First, let’s look at House Bill 1721, the Bus Passenger Safety Act, which allows anyone with a handgun license to pack heat on public transit. According to Public Radio Tulsa, the bill’s author, Rep. Greg Babinec, R-Cushing, said the bill “helps people with a [Self-Defense Act License] who can’t take their guns to work just because they ride the bus.” Reminder, it’s illegal to fire a shot on a bus unless in self-defense or in defense of another person.
Next, there is House Bill 2323, which — according to the bill’s author Rep. Jeff Coody — calls for anyone age 21 and older to exercise their “God-given, constitutional right” to carry a gun without a permit in their own vehicle, according to Tulsa World. After a 70-16 vote, the bill passed by the House to the Senate. Under this bill, a pistol could be carried in any matter. Think loaded, unloaded, open, concealed or in the hands of a driver while accepting a hamburger meal in the drive-thru window.
This takes us to Slaughterville Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland’s bill to allow elected county officials to carry guns into courthouses. House Bill 1104 is the key to solving small counties’ security troubles by allowing county officials to strap a pistol on and roam the halls, protecting courthouse staff from people who “make rash decisions and act out” against elected officials, Cleveland told the Associated Press.
Again, keep in mind guns would still be banned from inside courtrooms.
And last but not least is legislation by Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Depew, and Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud. Signed by the governor, House Bill 1428, the Handgun Carry Military Age Exemption Act, modifies existing law to allow any person who is a member, veteran or honorably discharged from the United States armed forces to apply for a handgun license.
In other words, Oklahomans as young as the age of 18 could apply for a handgun license, the Associated Press reported.
In 2015, magazine Guns & Ammo published the article “Best States for Gun Owners” and ranked the Sooner State No. 30. Considering these pro-gun bills, some trigger-friendly lawmakers are working to ensure Oklahoma improves that middle-of-the-pack ranking.