Proposed bill would hurt events in Oklahoma, Chamber's Roy Williams says

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oklahoma proposed bill would prevent businesses from banning guns at certain events

By Rick Green
The Oklahoman

Businesses would lose the ability to ban guns at events held at parks, recreational areas and fairgrounds under a bill that has passed the Oklahoma Legislature and is pending before Gov. Mary Fallin.

The measure would imperil national shows, athletic competitions and concerts that pump hundreds millions of dollars into the economy, said Roy Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. Businesses that run these events often contractually require that guns be banned.

“It could literally kill dozens, dozens and dozens of regional and national events,” said Williams, who is urging the governor to veto it.

The governor is still considering the legislation.

Rep. Kevin Calvey, one of the authors of Senate Bill 41, said the measure simply seeks to prevent cities from getting around existing gun laws.

“A city could effectively get around the law allowing the carry of guns simply by declaring an area to be a parade or a festival and claiming then that the person who holds the permit is the private property owner and they would have the right to ban concealed carry,” said Calvey, R-Oklahoma City.

“This is a measure that seeks to prevent an end-run around laws that protect our Second Amendment rights.”

The bill passed the Senate, 39-7, on Monday. It passed the House, 88-4, on April 22.

Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, said the bill is worded so broadly that it could affect ballparks and indoor facilities that could be construed as recreational areas.

“Certain entities will no longer do business here,” he said. “Good, bad or otherwise, that’s the reality.”

He said NCAA events, Oklahoma River events, concerts held at the Chesapeake Arena, some prep playoff events and art shows all could be in danger.

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