OK: “Constitutional” Permitless Open Carry Almost to Governor

By Dean Weingarten

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- The Oklahoma legislature has passed HB 3098, the bill to restore permitless open carry to Oklahoma.  The bill passed the House  73 to 15, and the Senate 37 to 9.  Unless it is stopped in conference committee, it will be sent to Governor Mary Fallin.  Two years ago, in 2014,Governor Fallin, (R) Oklahoma, vetoed a number of bills in what has been described as a “tantrum” on the 29th of April. The legislature overrode one of the bills.  It is unclear if Governor Fallin would veto HB 3098, which passed with veto proof majorities.  I have read the bill, and ethansission from opencarry.org sums it up pretty well:

Yes. This bill keeps the Self Defense Act (SDA) intact for concealed carry. The bill basically adds open carry as a general exception to the law against carrying weapons and removes all mention of open carry from the SDA. So the SDA license goes back to being relevant only for concealed carry again, like it was before open carry became legal in Oklahoma in 2012. So this bill, if passed, would mean:

  • Open carry is legal without a license (except for under 21, felons, and people with certain mental conditions).
  • Concealed carry is legal with an SDA license. Open carry is also legal for someone with an SDA license (i.e. you’re not required to conceal just because you have an SDA license).
  • Someone holding an SDA license will be permitted to carry concealed in states that reciprocate the Oklahoma SDA license, just like they can today.

The law could pass the legislature with sufficient time so that the legislature will not have to worry about a “pocket veto”. Here is the process for a veto by the governor.  From stand.org:

5. Action by the governor:

Within 10 days after passage by the House and Senate, the bill is signed by the presiding offices of each chamber, the chief clerk of the House, the secretary of the Senate and then given to the governor. If legislative adjournment “Sine Die” has not occurred, the governor has 10 days (excluding Sunday) to act on the bill. If the governor does nothing/does not veto it within 10 days (excluding Sunday), it automatically becomes law. It also becomes law if the governor formally acts on it by signing it into law, which is more typical.

6. The way the governor can veto a bill:

The Legislature can let a veto stand or attempt to override it. The governor can veto an entire bill or “line item” veto some parts of it and approve its other provisions. The Legislature may override either a straight or line-item veto by a two-thirds vote of both chambers, until sine die. After sine die, the governor may also “pocket veto” a bill by keeping it 15 days after the Legislature has adjourned without taking official action. With this approach, the Legislature does not have the opportunity to override.

Governor Fallin has several options, and the legislature could have time to override a veto if she uses the pocket veto option.  The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 27 May.  If they delay passage of the bill for a couple of weeks, it will make a veto override nearly impossible.

HB 3098 is essentially half of a “Constitutional” carry bill.  The other half would be to eliminate the requirement for a permit to carry a weapon concealed.  Oklahoma is a prime candidate to become a member of the Constitutional carry club, but probably not this year.   It is likely that a much improved amendment to protect the right to keep and bear arms will be on the ballot in November, which will giver further impetus to the “constitutional” carry movement.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.