Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Governor Fallin Signs SB 397 Restores Carry on Buses

On 19 May, 2017, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed into law another reform of Oklahoma firearms law. SB 397 removed another egregious discrimination against poor people exercising their Second Amendment rights.

In Oklahoma, it is illegal to bear arms on buses used as public mass transportation. Most people who have sufficient means prefer to use private transportation. In most situations it is far more efficient, effective, and convenient to use individual transport.  But in some situations, such as in crowded urban centers where parking is expensive, time consuming, and hard to find, a great many people have to resort to riding buses. Those people tend to be people of limited means.

If you ban people from bring arms onto buses, you have effectively chilled Second Amendment rights for people who use public transportation.

Oklahoma Republicans rolled back that discrimination in 2017. The Senate passed the bill on 23 March, 43 to 1. The vote in opposition was a Democrat, Senator Matthews.

The House passed the bill, after an amendment, on 25 April, 79-9. All votes in opposition were Democrats. They were F. Bennett, Blancett, Dunnington, Griffith, Munson, Nichols, Virgin, Walke, and Young.

The Senate then repassed the amended bill on 11 May, 39 to 1. The same Democrat opposed the bill.

The legislature took care to make it a separate crime to discharge a firearm in a bus, terminal, or other transportation facility, unless it was done in a deadly force defense. From
It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm into or within any bus, terminal or other transportation facility, unless such action is determined to have been in defensive force resulting from reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.
The law goes into effect on 1 November, 2017. 

While the new law refers to "Deadly or dangerous weapon" separately from firearms, It seems that penalties only result if the weapons are used in an attempt to take over the bus.

Oklahoma passed a knife preemption bill in 2015, and removed knives from the illegal weapons list in 2016.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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