Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights opposes SB 1212

Friday, May 4, 2018

by Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights Coalition

The Honorable Mary Fallin
Governor - State of Oklahoma
State Capitol Building
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212
Oklahoma City, OK 73105


Dear Governor Fallin:

Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights is writing to request your veto of SB 1212.  We are a coalition of 50 associations, universities, businesses and law enforcement organizations formed to ensure policy makers are provided timely and accurate information on how 2nd Amendment legislation will impact our members.  We are fully supportive of 2nd Amendment rights and have not opposed legislation to responsibly expand rights of Oklahoma gun owners.  However, our coalition has and will continue to oppose legislation that would:  1) negate the rights of business and property owners to prohibit guns from being carried into their businesses; 2) jeopardize the rights of event hosts to prohibit weapons at high-economic impact events; 3) eliminate or reduce the ability of colleges and universities to regulate weapons on campus; or, 4) lessen the ability of law enforcement officials to protect the public’s safety.  Because SB 1212 violates each of the above principles, we respectfully urge you to veto this harmful legislation. 

SB 1212 was introduced as a bill relating only to wildlife and refuge areas, but was amended in late April by Rep. Coody to allow permitless carry of a loaded gun in public.  It was passed by the House on April 25 and by the Senate on May 2 without receiving a committee hearing in either chamber.  A policy change of this magnitude should require extensive analysis, thorough debate and extensive vetting by all groups potentially impacted.  This did not occur.

You will receive individual letters and requests from many of our coalition members outlining their specific reasons why SB 1212 should be vetoed; however, we will highlight the following concerns:

  • SB 1212 would mark a major policy change in Oklahoma by eliminating the requirement that Oklahoma residents obtain a permit before carrying a loaded handgun in public. It will jeopardize public safety and enable dangerous individuals to carry loaded handguns in many places frequented by Oklahoma families.

  • SB 1212 has a projected fiscal impact to the State of more than $4 million.  It is unclear how the State will address this budgetary issue.

  • SB 1212 impairs the right of Business and Property Owners to implement safeguards to prohibit untrained individuals with no permit or background check from carrying guns into their business. 

  • Under SB 1212, certain businesses will not be able to prohibit guns at all, even those carried by people without permits or training. For other businesses, the previous adoption of an amendment to section (E) of the Businesses Owners Rights provision (Section 1290.22), will significantly expand the number of individuals who can carry a gun into a business with little or no penalty (the maximum penalty is a citation not to exceed $250) for those who simply disobey the rules and carry guns into businesses. 

  • SB 1212 creates new risks.  Individuals carrying without a permit will be less likely to follow Oklahoma law because they will not have training to understand where guns are and aren't allowed to be carried. Current training specifically covers information on Oklahoma firearms laws.  The absence of this training will increase the risk business owners will have to address accidental discharges in their stores or need to call law enforcement or confront an armed individual who fails to obey the business’ signage.

  • SB 1212 will make Oklahoma one of the only states where it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit.  In the vast majority of states, including Oklahoma, a person must acquire a permit in order to legally do so. {21 Ok. St. §§ 1272; 1290.4}.  Permits ensure core public safety standards are preserved when individuals carry handguns in pubic.

  • States that have enacted permitless carry have seen a substantial increase in gun crimes.
    • Arizona enacted permitless carry legislation in 2010. After the law went into effect, the annual total of aggravated assaults committed with a firearm in the state increased by 44 percent. That increase represents 1,519 more gun-related aggravated assaults committed in 2016 than in 2010.
    • After Missouri enacted a permitless carry bill in January 2017, the city of St. Louis experienced a 23 percent increase in aggravated assaults with a gun over the same period in 2016. That represents 484 more gun-related aggravated assaults in 2017 than in 2016.

  • SB 1212 purports to maintain the existing rules that prevent dangerous individuals from carrying loaded handguns in public places. However, by eliminating the law enforcement mechanism, it will make it easy for dangerous individuals to carry loaded handguns in public places.
    • People Prohibited from Buying or Having a Gun: SB 1212 will make it easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers and those with dangerous mental illnesses to carry handguns in public. These people are prohibited from buying or having guns; however, under the legislation, law enforcement won’t be able to tell who is carrying a gun legally and who is carrying illegally.
    • Violent & Habitual Criminals: Under current Oklahoma law, people who have been convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, such as assault, or who have lengthy misdemeanor records cannot get a permit to carry a handgun. {21 Ok. St. § 1290.10 (5), (8)}.  SB 1212 will make it harder for law enforcement to stop these criminals from carrying loaded handguns in public.
    • Repeat Drunk Drivers and Alcohol Abusers: Oklahoma law prohibits those who have been convicted of multiple DUIs or arrested for multiple intoxication offenses within the last three years from obtaining a handgun license. SB 1212 will make it easy for these repeat criminals to carry loaded handguns in public in Oklahoma. {21 Ok. St. § 1290.11 (6) - (7)}

  • No Firearms Training: SB 1212 will allow individuals to circumvent Oklahoma’s firearm training requirement. Oklahoma currently requires applicants for a handgun permit to complete firearms safety training—including demonstrating competence and qualification with a pistol of the type the person wishes to carry.    {21 Ok. St. § 1290.14}

  • No Background Check: Under current Oklahoma law, the OSBI conducts a national and state criminal records search to make sure an individual who wants to carry a gun in public places is not a person with a dangerous history or a person who is prohibited by law from having a gun. {21 Ok. St. § 1290.12}. This helps ensure felons, domestic abusers, and other people with dangerous histories cannot carry a loaded handgun in public.  Under SB 1212, people will be allowed to carry loaded handguns in public without first undergoing a background check.