Governor is wary about open carry, immigration
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Saturday, May 08, 2010
5/08/10 at 8:44 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Brad Henry said Friday that he has concerns about an open-carry gun bill sent to him for consideration and that the state shouldn't follow Arizona's lead in attempting to crack down on illegal immigration.
Last week, the House sent Henry House Bill 3354 by Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs. The measure would allow people with concealed-carry permits to carry their weapons openly.
"This legislation should actually reduce the chance of violence," Duncan said after the measure passed the House by a 74-24 vote. "A criminal is far less likely to attack once he sees a citizen is armed."
Henry said he hasn't had time to review the measure and is unsure whether he will sign it.
"I will have to say, I share some of the concerns that have been expressed to me by law enforcement that the open carry makes their job more dangerous," he said. "It makes it more difficult for them to distinguish between the bad guys and the good guys. So, I will take all that into consideration. I haven't made a final decision yet."
The Oklahoma State Troopers Association opposes the measure.
Henry said he would not support legislation modeled after a recently enacted law in Arizona that cracks down on illegal immigrants.
"I don't think Oklahoma should go where Arizona went," the governor said.
The Arizona law allows law enforcement officers to ask for the immigration papers of people whom they stop, detain or arrest. It makes it a crime not to have immigration papers.
Some Oklahoma lawmakers have indicated that they plan to craft legislation this session that would be tougher than the Arizona law. But legislative leaders are wary of such a plan.
Henry repeated his position that illegal immigration is a federal issue.
He said he hasn't read the Arizona law, but based on news reports, "I think it gets very close to racial profiling, if (it's) not racial profiling."
The governor said a uniform policy regarding illegal immigrants is needed.
"Quite frankly, the reason we are seeing states like Oklahoma, Arizona and other states address immigration is because the federal government, for decades, has failed to do so," Henry said. "It is time they step up and do their job."
Barbara Hoberock (405) 528-2465
NOT SO FAST
Gov. Brad Henry: "I share some of the concerns that have been expressed to me by law enforcement that the open carry makes their job more dangerous."