We have been following and reporting on three pieces of legislation that effect the rights of Oklahoma gun owners, in particular, House Bill 3098, House Joint Resolution 1009, and Senate Bill 1142.
Open Carry Legislation
House Bill 3098 would have allowed the open carry of a handgun without a license. As previously reported, the bill was passed by the House and sent to the Senate on March 14, 2016. However, the Senate made some changes and the bill was sent back to the House for consideration on April 21st. On April 27th, the House rejected the Senate’s amended version and requested a conference committee be assigned to work out a compromise between the two legislative bodies. On May 2nd, a Conference Committee was granted. That’s when bill’s supports came up firing blanks. One committee member, Senator Clark Jolley, (R-District 15) killed the bill by refusing to sign it out of committee.
So for now, open carry without a license will not happen anytime soon in Oklahoma.
House Joint Resolution 1009, introduced on January 21, 2015, also in the House, to allow Oklahomans to vote to amend Section 26 of Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution, clarifying the manner in which citizens may keep and bear arms. The House passed the measure and sent it on to the Senate on March 14, 2016. Once again, the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House on April 25th for consideration. The House rejected the Senate’s amended version and once more requested a conference committee be granted to work out a compromise. On May 2nd, a compromise committee was granted, but the bill died in committee, killed by the Republicans.
So Oklahomans will not get to vote on amending the State’s constitution to strengthen its citizen’s Second Amendment rights at the state level.
Feral Hog Hunting
And finally, both bodies of the legislature agreed on Senate Bill 1142, the measure that would have allowed hunting of feral hogs at night on public property without a permit. The bill was sent to Governor Mary Fallin on May 9, 2016. The Senate recalled the bill on May 12th make a change and then resubmitted it the same day. However, the Governor sent it back for more work, and the House and Senate sent back a revised version on May 17th. Not good enough, or so the Governor thought, so on May 20th, she vetoed the bill, claiming such a measure would endanger people on public hunting lands.
Instead, Gov. Fallin issued an executive order directing the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to expedite the permitting process and develop rules to aid landowners in the eradication of feral hogs.
Fallin’s Executive Order 2016-16 directs the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to develop rules that include:
- Authorizing landowners on private property to remove or attempt to remove feral swine at night, with the use of night-vision equipment, off-road vehicles to pursue or follow feral swine, as well as handheld or vehicle-mounted headlights or other powerful lights to pursue or follow feral swine. At no time, however, will pursuing feral hogs on public roadways or discharging firearms from a public roadway be allowed.
- Requiring private landowners to agree to provide advance notification to a game warden assigned to the county in which extermination efforts will occur before each attempt to remove feral hogs.
- Explaining how users may obtain information on feral hog eradication, such as a link to the agency’s website.
Those rules should allow landowners to remove feral swine at night with use of night-vision equipment, the governor’s order states.
Pursuing feral hogs on public roadways or discharging firearms from a public roadway should not be allowed and landowners should have to notify game wardens in advance, the governor said.
The rules are to take effect Nov. 1.
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