House Bill 2597 (copy)

Open-carry advocates gather outside the Oklahoma Capitol. The Oklahoman file

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City lawmaker on Monday announced an effort to nullify a law passed last session that allows people to carry guns without training or a permit.

But a backer of the gun law said it’s doubtful that the effort will be successful, calling it a “political stunt.”

Last session, lawmakers passed House Bill 2597, which is called “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry.”

It was the first bill signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt, and it takes effect Nov. 1.

Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, is among three proponents of a referendum petition to nullify the law.

He is working with Moms Demand Action, a nationwide group that calls itself a grassroots organization seeking to reduce gun violence.

“It is my sincerest belief that there are citizens among us who should not openly carry guns, especially without a permit or training,” Lowe said.

Oklahoma already allows open carry with a permit.

“This petition does not take away guns,” Lowe said. “This petition does not make tougher and more restrictive laws. This petition does exactly what it should and forces the Legislature to rethink our decision to rush a bill to the governor’s desk to fulfill a campaign promise.”

Lowe said the issue isn’t about politics but is about giving the people a chance to speak their mind.

Brian T. Jones, representing proponents of the referendum, said voters would be asked whether to approve or reject HB 2597.

The referendum faces an uphill battle based on regulations governing the process of even getting to the signature-gathering process.

Backers of a referendum have 90 days from the end of the legislative session in which the measure was enacted (May 31) to obtain a number of signatures equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, so supporters would have only until 5 p.m. Aug. 29 to submit 59,320 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office after the petition was approved for circulation — a process that itself could take weeks.

Don Spencer is president of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, also called OK2A. He said he wrote House Bill 2597 and that he doesn’t think supporters can gather the required number of signatures.

“It is a political stunt,” Spencer said. “I will tell you this, too. We appreciate Rep. Lowe for introducing this. It is one of the greatest generators for OK2A memberships that can take place.”

House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, who was the House author of House Bill 2597, said, “I think the chances of it getting on the ballot are zero percent.”

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Barbara Hoberock


Twitter: @bhoberock

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