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Pro-gun lobby in Oklahoma balks at federal reform proposals

BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: January 15, 2013
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He said a ban on assault weapons has not worked in the past and said policymakers should instead focus on banning weapons-free zones.

Misplaced priorities?

“Our priorities are out of whack,” he said. “What we need to do is quit restricting honest people from being able to defend themselves.”

It's clear the national debate on guns will indeed play out in Oklahoma in the impending legislative session, though it's not clear yet how exactly that conversation will occur.

Rep. Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville, the first-draft author of Oklahoma's new open carry law, said he will pursue legislation this spring that will make it more difficult for those with a history of mental illness to access guns.

The bill will require county court clerks in Oklahoma to provide to a federal database and to Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation the names and information of people who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent, Martin said.

Federal and state law already prohibits the sale of firearms to such people, but Oklahoma consistently lags behind in submitting those records.

Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, said she will host a legislative forum this spring to discuss the topic. She said blanket opposition to gun reform in Oklahoma prevents a sound public policy debate, one that lays the groundwork for change both sides could agree on.

“It's essential that we differentiate between gun violence and gun control,” Johnson said. “Let's do away with all the fear-mongering.”


New state proposals planned

Rep. Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville, the first-draft author of Oklahoma's new open carry law, said he will pursue legislation this spring that will make it more difficult for those with a history of mental illness to access guns.

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