Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed several firearms related bills into law at the end of the state’s most recent legislative session, reported U.S. Law Shield of Oklahoma Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles. The first regular session of the 56th legislature closed sine-die on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Among the newly signed laws is Senate Bill 35, which makes changes to state laws that allow active, reserve, and National Guard members in the state, who are 21 years of age or older, to use a valid military ID in place of a handgun permit. In addition to the age requirement, those individuals would still need to have a valid state-issued ID, such as an Oklahoma driver’s license or state photo ID card, present when carrying a firearm.
Fallin also signed SB 397 into law, which lifts prohibitions on the carrying of handguns on public buses. It will overturn the current law, which says carrying a concealed deadly weapon on a public bus carries a $10,000 fine and as much as 10 years in prison. Under the new law, anyone with a valid carry permit can bring a concealed firearm on a public bus for the purpose of self-defense.
Other newly approved legislation from this sessions include:
— SB36: Updates the definitions for “Pistols” or “handguns” as used in the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971 to mean “any firearm capable of discharging single or multiple projectiles from a single round of ammunition composed of any material which may reasonably be expected to be able to cause lethal injury, with a barrel or barrels less than sixteen (14) inches in length, and using a combustible propellant charge, but not to include flare guns, underwater fishing guns or blank pistols.” (Signed: April 10, 2017)
— SB40: Known as the “Point, Don’t Shoot” bill, this piece of legislation protects an individual who points a firearm in a self-defense scenario, but does not fire a shot. Under the previous state law, individuals could be charged with a felony for pointing, but not shooting a firearm, even in self-defense, except when faced with deadly force.
— SB288: Prohibits owners from banning open or concealed carry from parking lots. Property owners can prohibit carry, but the prohibition must be noted if the property is open to the public. Owners are exempted from liability if they allow owners to carry. (Signed: May 31, 2017)
— HB1104: Amends the state’s existing unlawful carry laws to allow elected county officials with valid handgun licenses to carry handguns inside their counties’ courthouses. A similar bill, which would also allow state employees to carry, will be introduced next session. (signed: May 2, 2017)
— HB1550:Modifies the definition of “motor vehicle” regarding the carrying and storage of firearms to include motorcycles equipped with a locked accessory container within or affixed to the motorcycle. (signed: May 1, 2017)
— HB2324: Allows those permitted by the Department of Agriculture to shoot depredating animals from an aircraft and to authorize other unlicensed, unidentified persons to shoot from the aircraft, as well. No specific pilot’s license or liability insurance is required. The Senate Amendment to HB 2324 requires that a permit holder, who contracts with or authorizes another person to shoot from the aircraft, shall have the authorized person sign a disclosure stating that the person is aware of the dangers of aiming and shooting over the horizon. (signed: May 15, 2017)
— HB1428: Created the Handgun Carry Military Age Exemption Act, which allows 18-20-year-olds who are veterans or active members of the military to apply for a SDA (Self-Defense Act) license (https://www.ok.gov/osbi/Handgun_Licensing/). Effective November 1, 2017, the minimum age for SDA license eligibility drops to 18 for individuals serving in the Military, Reserves and National Guard and those discharged under honorable conditions. (signed: April 6, 2017)
There were two bills that were either killed or died in the legislative process during the 56th legislature:
— HB2322: Would have included firearm and ammunition components in the state preemption of legislation regarding such items, and would have allowed persons adversely affected by any order, ordinance or regulation promulgated or enforced by a municipality or other political subdivision in violation of the preemption provisions to bring a civil action against the person, municipality or political subdivision. A motion to reconsider vote failed passed on April 24, 2017.
— HB2323: Would have allowed anyone over the age of 21 (except convicted felons) to carry a pistol in any manner (loaded, unloaded, open, concealed) in a vehicle and further prohibits law enforcement from disarming or physically restraining such people absent probable cause. It failed in the Public Safety Committee on April 4, 2017.
Several bills were laid over until the next legislative session. These include:
— HB1803: Known as the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” it would prohibit the expenditure of public monies to oppose rights stated in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
— SB6: Would allow state and federally elected officials to carry a firearm if they completed a qualification course. The ability to carry would apply anywhere in the state.
— SB43: Would remove the requirement that those with written permission to carry on a campus report as much to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It would also repeal secondary penalties against a person with an SDA license.
— SB615: Would allow private property owners to control feral hogs without government permission, and exempt the taking of feral swine from license requirement.
— HB1405: Would permit schools to create a policy regulating possession of knives by students.
— HB1798: Would allow hunting wild hogs without a deer license, and would also allow the use of spotlights or night vision.
— HB1935: Would authorize certain persons to enter State Capitol building while carrying a handgun, and would prohibit law enforcement officers from removing, inspecting, or restraining a person carrying a properly concealed firearm.
— HB1600: Would allow personal handguns on college campuses beginning Nov. 1, 2019. The bill would still prohibit handguns from being carried in any building with “adequate security measures,” such as guards or metal detectors at entrances, or those that have a “restricted access entrance,” such as a keycard or access code to open. The legislation would also provide universities until Nov. 1, 2019, to equip buildings with these security measures or restricted access entrances.
— SB142: Would modify the penalty for firearm violations.
— SB5: Would reduce the license fee from $85 to $25 and reduce the first-time licensing fee from $100 to $25. The measure also increase license terms from one to five years.