Gov. Mary Fallin, who recently passed criteria to get a permit to carry a handgun, said Wednesday she believes Oklahoma has responsible gun laws but should earmark more money toward mental health, which could help keep firearms out of the hands of those with mental health problems.
Fallin said she hasn't had a chance to review President Barack Obama's proposed guns restrictions, which are intended to curb mass violence.
“The state of Oklahoma is a state that believes in the Second Amendment and the right to be able to own guns,” she said. “We certainly have responsible laws on our books to be able to get permitted to own guns and to be able to carry guns in the state of Oklahoma.”
Fallin said she doesn't think legislators would pass a ban on the purchase of assault rifles, which is allowed in Oklahoma.
Fallin said she will ask lawmakers next month to put more money toward mental health services in the state. Money was approved last year for a community-based psychiatric crisis center.
“In the meantime, we do have an obligation to do everything we can to make sure our schools are safe and our children are protected … against those who might cause harm to other individuals,” Fallin said.
The governor said she has asked the state Education Department, along with public schools, to look at their safety and security plans and to update them to include drills.
She also is eager to hear recommendations of the recently formed Oklahoma Commission on School Security, headed by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb. The plan is to address both school security and the mental health needs of the state. It is not expected to address gun control.
“I'm going to reserve my judgment on what we're going to do until I have the opportunity to see what their group … will recommend to me,” Fallin said.
Fallin, who already has armed troopers assigned to provide security for her, said she decided to get a concealed gun permit because she and her husband also possess handguns.
“It's good for my own personal safety to be able to carry, if I choose to do that,” she said.
“From a private citizen's standpoint, it's a matter of personal safety to be able to carry, if a person chooses to do that.
“It may be right for some; it may not be right for others.”