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Gun manufacturing bill advances through Oklahoma House committee

Oklahoma House Bill 2021 seeks to exempt guns or ammunition made in Oklahoma from federal regulations.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm •  Published: February 21, 2013

A bill that would exempt guns or ammunition made in the state from federal regulations and hailed by its authors as protecting Second Amendment gun rights for Oklahomans easily passed its first test.

The House of Representatives Public Safety Committee without debate voted 13-0 to pass House Bill 2021, the latest version of the Firearms Freedom Act.

It now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide if it gets a hearing on the House floor.

The only question asked was by committee member Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum, who wanted to know if the measure would allow the manufacture of a rocket-propelled grenade. It does not.

Rep. Sean Roberts, one of several House authors of the measure, said the bill provides for the manufacture or assembly of firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition in the state. The items cannot be sold or taken outside the state. As long as the items remain in Oklahoma, they would not be subject to federal law or federal regulations, said Roberts, R-Hominy.

A firearm manufactured or assembled under guidelines of the bill must have the words “Made in Oklahoma” on it, Roberts said. It prohibits fully automatic weapons or any weapon designed to fire rocket-propelled grenades or any explosive projectile.

Roberts said the bill's passage could attract gun manufacturers to Oklahoma.

Rep. John Bennett, another House author, said he and other backers of the bill have sent requests to gun manufacturers in states considered not friendly to gun owners, such as California and Colorado.

“They're looking for places to move because of that,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “This legislation just passed just kind of compounds that we are a gun-friendly state and we want their business here.”

Buyers of weapons from an Oklahoma gun manufacturer would still have to undergo background checks and be at least 21 years old if the firearm is a handgun or 18 if the weapon is a shotgun or rifle, according to the bill. They can't be a felon nor have been committed to a mental health institution.

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