Open-carry advocates say they were duped as weakened legislation passes Oklahoma House
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Thursday, March 17, 2011
3/17/11 at 12:20 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY — A long night of lawmaking ended in an uproar just before midnight Wednesday, with open-carry gun advocates claiming they had been tricked into voting for legislation they didn’t want.
House Bill 1647, brought to the floor just after 10:30 p.m., would have allowed just about anyone to carry just about any kind of legal firearm without a license as long as they were “in fear of bodily harm.”
House leadership opposed the bill and kept it from being voted out of committee, but author John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, was able to gather sufficient signatures on what is known as a discharge petition to have the measure placed on general order — meaning it was eligible for a vote.
In the course of a procedural maze, Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, moved to adopt an amendment by Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, that added the requirement that the person in fear of bodily harm obtain a protective order. Bennett, to the surprise of the bill’s opponents, accepted the amendment, and the bill passed as amended 55-39.
At least some of those voting for the measure apparently did not realize that the language effectively all but negated the section’s original intent.
Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, tried to have the vote rescinded, saying he and other open-carry advocates thought the amendment began with the word “or.”
Reynolds was ruled out of order, and in the hubbub Sullivan managed to get in a motion to adjourn.
The House resumes business at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Bills not heard by the end of the day are considered dead for this session.