On Monday, lawmakers in Oklahoma declared a push to dump a law approved in the previous session. This new law will tolerate people carrying guns with no permit or prior training. Meanwhile, Oklahoma already allows the open carrying of guns while having a permit.
Those who approve of the new legislation, however, remain doubtful that this push will have any effect. Some have even called it little more than a political stunt.
The legislation standing in the controversy’s spotlight is House Bill 2597. Also going by the names “permitless carry” and “constitutional carry,” it was the first that Gov. Kevin Stitt signed. It is to come into power on November 1.
Rep. Lowe and Tight Referendum Constrictions
Leading the charge to nullify this law is Democratic Representative Jason Lowe. He is one of three supporters of forming a petition that urges for a referendum to discard the bill. To that end, he works with Moms In Action, an organization dedicated to reducing gun violence.
Lowe underscores that this petition will not attempt to do anything else but repeal this piece of legislation. It will only ask citizens whether they believe this law should remain in effect or not.
In his words, the petition will not strive to make gun laws more restrictive or stringent, nor will it endeavor to do away with legal gun ownership altogether. He urged the public to understand that it isn’t solely political, but that its purpose is to allow people to have a say.
However, the referendum will be a struggle to initiate. The requirement for a referendum is to gather a number of signatures that equals at least five percent of the votes during the gubernatorial election and issue them to the Secretary of State’s Office. These signatures must be accumulated within ninety days from the lawmaking session which enacted the contested law.
Bill 2597 received the go-ahead on May 31, so the petitioners must garner their signatures by August 29, 5 p.m. Seeing that they would require 59,320 votes, they stand against a monumental task. Not to mention that the petition itself must first receive approval for circulation.
Jon Echols, leader of the House Majority Floor, estimates that the odds of this referendum reaching the ballot are near null. Echols was HB2597’s House Author.
OK2A and Moms Demand Action
Don Spencer, head of OK2A (Oklahoma Second Amendment Association) was another writer for Bill 2597. He sincerely doubts that this petition will accumulate enough signatures to enact any change. He went on to call it a political stunt.
Spencer, in fact, expressed appreciation toward Rep. Lowe and the petition. He considers it a terrific channel through which OK2A will attract new members. He thinks this law presents an evolution of gun culture. His organization will attempt to educate citizens on the law and its implications.
Moms Demand Action’s Kay Malan highlights the necessity for a common-sense gun safety regulations. She goes on to explain how she mourns the United States’ prevalence of gun violence, which she calls epidemic in scope. Her prediction is that, should the law remain, people in Oklahoma will dread walking their own streets more than ever before.
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots initiative founded by Shannon Watts as a response to the Sandy Hook incident.