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Commentary

Oklahoma Governor Goes Against Gun Owners, Rules Against Constitutional Carry

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A Republican governor in a fairly red state just rebuked the National Rifle Association and countless gun owning citizens. Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma has vetoed a so-called “constitutional carry” bill that would have made it easier for law-abiding residents to defend themselves.

On Friday, Fallin declared that she would not be signing the bill which was heavily backed by the NRA. She claimed to still be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but sided with concerns raised by state law enforcement officials and many business owners.

“I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal,” Fallin stated, according to The Associated Press.

State lawmakers who represent the actual citizens, however, apparently disagreed. Legislators and gun rights advocates alike backed the measure, which is similar to laws that already exist in several states.

“Republican voters believe in the Second Amendment and they believe they should be able to exercise that right with as little interference from the government as possible,” explained Republican political strategist Trebor Worthen. “Especially in more rural areas.”

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If the bill had been signed into law, it would have made it legal for adults over the age of 21 to carry a handgun either open or concealed without needing a state permit. Existing requirements for purchasing and possessing a firearm would still have applied, and it would be illegal for a felon to go armed.

Around one-fourth of all states have similar laws right now. Arizona, for example, has had “constitutional carry” for over eight years. Twelve other states including Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and New Hampshire also have various permitless carry laws.

The NRA, which has some five million active members but has come under scrutiny lately, issued a rebuke to the governor’s veto.

“Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor,” said Chris Cox, NRA executive director for legislative affairs.

Do you support "constitutional carry" bills like this one?

Governor Fallin does not need to placate voters in an upcoming election. She is term limited, giving her few reasons to fear a political backlash at the polls.

She does, however, have a reputation to maintain. The NRA pointed out that Fallin promised to back this type of carry law when she ran for re-election four years ago. It seems it’s much easier to forget promises when facing the voters is no longer a concern.

According to the AP, it isn’t the first time the Republican governor has gone rogue and disappointed pro-gun citizens.

“Fallin has vetoed gun bills before,” the outlet reported. “In 2014, she vetoed a bill requiring state authorities to sign off on applications for federally-regulated items such as silencers, short-barreled rifles and automatic weapons within 15 days.”

That veto didn’t last long. “The Legislature overrode her veto and the bill became law anyway. In 2015, she vetoed legislation that restricted businesses from banning guns at parks, fairgrounds and recreational areas, a veto that remained in place,” explained the AP.

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It’s hard to deny that for being a supposedly conservative governor, Fallin has opposed a surprising number of pro-Second Amendment bills.

Considering the support that this legislation had, it’s likely that it or similar bills will come back in the near future. Voters are no doubt paying close attention to this situation, and will think twice before believing the promises of candidates who are all talk and no action.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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