OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma County district judge on Wednesday declined to put on hold a law allowing people to carry a firearm without a permit or training.
House Bill 2597, which will allow “constitutional” or “permitless” carry, takes effect Friday. The state already has an open carry law on the books.
Passed last session, HB 2597 was the first bill signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, and others filed a lawsuit earlier this month after failing to get enough signatures on an initiative petition seeking to let voters decide whether to nullify or keep the law.
Lowe said opponents will file an appeal Thursday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He called the law dangerous and unconstitutional.
The case is before Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews. A hearing late Wednesday afternoon on a temporary injunction lasted less than 30 minutes.
Andrews ruled only on the request to put the law on hold, not the merits of the lawsuit.
The suit alleges the measure violates the single-subject requirement of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Plaintiffs sought to put the law on hold pending the outcome of the legal challenge.
Stitt was named as the defendant. He is represented by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office, which argued against the injunction.
“Allowing an aggrieved litigant, particularly an individual legislator on the losing side of a vote, to enjoin duly enacted state laws makes the courts an agent in thwarting the democratic process, undermining the rule of law and the separation of powers,” Hunter’s office wrote in a brief objecting to the requested injunction.
The brief argued that the law only encompasses one subject.
But Melanie Wilson Rughani, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the measure encompasses several subjects, ranging from immunity to the transportation of firearms in vehicles.
“We are pleased Judge Andrews ruled in our favor and did not grant a preliminary injunction, which will allow this law to go into effect on Nov. 1,” Hunter said. “My office is proud to defend the constitutional carry law against a political attack by plaintiffs who were unable to succeed at the Legislature, unable to persuade voters in the referendum process and now seeking to overturn a duly enacted law with meritless claims and scare tactics.”
The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association supported the measure.
Don Spencer, president of the association, was in the courtroom and said he was pleased with the decision.
The organization is expected to hold a rally at 10 a.m. Friday on the south side of the Capitol.
“It will be the first day to have 112 years of rights back,” Spencer said.
Lowe, who was also in the courtroom, said he was disappointed in the denial of an injunction.
“We knew that this was going to be a long process,” Lowe said. “We knew that this was going to be a long fight. We knew that eventually this case was going to go to the (Oklahoma) Supreme Court.”