May 12 (UPI) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed legislation that would have eliminated gun training requirements and allowed residents to carry firearms without a license.
In a statement Friday, the Republican said she strongly supports the right to bear arms, but said she believes Senate Bill 1212 would have gone too far. Anyone without a felony conviction, 21 and older and passing a minimal background check could carry a gun in public without a permit, under the legislation.
Fifteen states have enacted “constitutional carry” laws, a name that refers to the blanket rights of the Second Amendment.
“Oklahoma is a state that respects the Second Amendment,” Fallin said in a statement. “As governor, I have signed both concealed-carry and open-carry legislation. I support the right to bear arms and own a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun.
But she said the bill “SB 1212 eliminates the current ability of Oklahoma law enforcement to distinguish between those carrying guns who have been trained and vetted, and those who have not,” she added.
Currently, gun owners are required to receive a short firearms safety and training course from a certified instructor and demonstrate competency with a pistol before carrying a gun in public. The background check now is stronger than federal regulations.
“Again, I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal, and serve to reassure our citizens that people who are carrying handguns in this state are qualified to do so,” she said.
Law enforcement officials criticized the legislation, and those in the business, education and healthcare sectors said the bill would endanger lives.
State Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Rick Adams has said the bill would cut his agency’s revenue by $4.7 million a year due to lost application fees.
Bill supporters counter that members of the public should be able to defend themselves from threats without training requirements.
The Senate approved the bill 33-9 and the House passed it 59-28.