Oklahoma gun bill stalls on term 'nonviolent'

The author of the bill agrees to do more work on his proposal after finding out that nonviolent crimes include bombing, drug trafficking and drive-by shootings.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm •  Published: February 14, 2013
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Rep. Todd Russ says he filed a measure so someone who made a mistake early in life and committed a nonviolent crime could have the chance to have a gun — to take a child hunting or to keep a rifle or shotgun handed down by an ancestor.

He wasn't prepared Wednesday when he was told by another lawmaker that nonviolent offenses included bombing, possessing child pornography, child prostitution, drive-by shootings and all drug offenses, which include trafficking and distributing.

“I was horrified when I saw that in our statutes these … things are nonviolent offenses,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, who brought up the nonviolent crimes during the committee hearing on Russ' measure, House Bill 1775. “There occasionally have been cases where somebody was overcharged … but there are also a lot of people out there who are bad guys, and I'm sorry, I don't want them to have any gun.”

Russ, R-Cordell, said he had in mind nonviolent crimes such as writing a check with insufficient funds. He agreed to stop a committee hearing on his HB 1775.

He told members of the House of Representatives Public Safety Committee that he would streamline the measure to target specific nonviolent crimes in which a person who has completed the sentencing and probation would be able to possess a firearm.

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