A bill by that protects the right of law-abiding citizens to “keep and bear arms” even during times of emergencies is now law in Oklahoma.
Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, sponsored House Bill 2696 in the Oklahoma State Senate. The new law removes the power of a governor to prohibit during emergencies the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens. Rep. Trebor Worthen, R-Oklahoma City, was the measure’s House author.
The bill was sparked by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In that state of emergency, local authorities tried to confiscate firearms from citizens. Gumm said that was a “clear violation of the Second Amendment.”
An Oklahoma law passed in the turbulent 1960s – “The Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act” – gave the governor the authority to “prohibit the possession of firearms” by anyone other than law enforcement anywhere other than in a person’s home or business.
“Governor Henry is a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms,” Gumm said. “I know he would never use this power, and I cannot imagine any governor of Oklahoma who would ever try to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
“Clearly, it was time for this state law – which I don’t believe would stand up to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – to be stricken.”
After passing the House of Representatives 94-1 and the Senate 46-0, Governor Henry signed the bill on April 20. The bill became law immediately upon the governor’s signature.
“I strongly believe in the Second Amendment that gives all law-abiding citizens the right to keep and bear arms – especially in times of emergencies,” said Gumm, a Senate assistant majority leader.
“It is an old saying, but it still rings true: ‘If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.’ As for me, I will always put my trust in law-abiding Oklahomans and the Constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms’ – in times of peace and especially in times of emergency.”