Language is needed to clarify the intent of the right to bear arms in the Oklahoma Constitution, according to the author of a constitutional amendment approved in the Oklahoma Senate.
House Joint Resolution 1026, by Rep. Dan Fisher and Sen. Greg Treat, was approved 37-6.
“Self-defense is the obvious intent of the right to bear arms in the Oklahoma Constitution, but courts have interpreted away that intent,” said Fisher, R-Yukon. “Concerned citizens feel it is necessary to place new language into the state constitution to clarify the right, to correct past misinterpretations by Oklahoma courts and to prevent similar misinterpretations from occurring in the future.”
“I take the Bill of Rights very seriously,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I am dumbfounded by the overt attacks on the Second Amendment both through the courts and through legislation. If the First Amendment were under the same barrage the outcry would be deafening. This measure is of extreme importance. It will allow the voters to restore our state constitutional protections of this fundamental right.”
Written in 1907, the Oklahoma Constitution, Article II, Section 26, reads:
“The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.”
The legislation would allow voters to change Section 26 to read:
“The fundamental right of each individual citizen to keep and to bear (that is, to carry) arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives, nonlethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as ammunition and the components of arms and ammunition, for security, self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose shall never not be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons infringed. Any regulation of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
The constitutional amendment would also add two subsections to Section 26:
“This section shall not prevent the Legislature from prohibiting the possession of arms by convicted felons, those adjudicated as mentally incompetent, or those who have been involuntarily committed in any mental institution.”
“No law shall impose registration or special taxation upon the keeping of arms, including the acquisition, ownership, possession, or transfer of arms, ammunition, or the components of arms or ammunition.”
Having passed both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate, the proposal will now appear on the November ballot.