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The Oklahoma legislature is sending a constitutional amendment to the people for a vote in November that’s meant to clarify and strengthen the right to keep and bear arms. The desire and need for such clarification is understandable. The current 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.”

You can see the problem. It’s that last phrase, “…but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.” It gives the legislature a blank check to do what they want, including a ban on the carrying of firearms. Historically, when legislators have this power at their disposal, they use it. As an example, carrying firearms was in almost all cases illegal in Kansas for most of the last hundred years.

The replacement of Article II, Section 26, that will be coming up for a vote in November, reads thus:

Section 26. 

A. The fundamental right of a each individual citizen to keep and to bear (that is, to carry) arms, 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 lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose shall not be infringed. Regulation of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

B. 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.

C. 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.

Similar clarifying language has been enacted in other states, Louisiana being the most recent. When presented to the people, such amendments typically pass with about three quarters of the vote. I predict that the Oklahoma amendment will get north of that. In Wisconsin, the constitutional amendment passed in 1998 with 74% of the vote. In Kansas, such an amendment got 88% of the vote in 2010. In Louisiana, Amendment 2 passed with 74% of the vote in 2012.

While activist courts may work to water down the effects of such amendments, the public is more engaged in Second Amendment issues than in many others. In Wisconsin, when the state supreme court ruled that section 25, even though a fundamental right, was subject to “reasonable regulation”, the state elected the Scott Walker administration, which passed one of the least restrictive shall issue laws in the nation, Act 35. The passage of a concealed carry law was a core issue in the campaign.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. The more words to clarify, the more I don’t like it. KISS principle. “…shall not be infringed.”. I’m not being simplistic. The more language, the more interpretations can be made.

    • Unfortunately, due to the weasel-like nature of the legal profession, keeping it simple isn’t always the “best” choice.

    • If you don’t include the exceptions they will be made anyway and the language will just become a joke.

  2. What standard is used to determine “common use?”

    There are an awful lot of M4’s in the military….

      • Legitimate
        Justifiable or Abidable

        Seems good enough to me.

        • Justifiable equates to “prove it meets our standards”

          Just look at New Jersey and their “Justifiable Need” clause…

  3. Perhaps the Oklahoma legislature should review Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (2012), before including that last line…

    • Please expand on how you think that applies to the last line. Keep in mind the case was decided by the 7th Circuit, Oklahoma is in the 10th Circuit. The case is non-binding for Oklahoma and holds no legal precedent outside of 7th Circuit.

        • You forget that the 7th Circuit is infected with liberals. The 10th almost always rules the opposite way on issues. It would be a cold day in hell when the 10th Circuit rules against a law like this because of previous precedent established by the 7th Circuit.

  4. We know we belong to the land
    And the land we belong to is grand!
    And when we say
    Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
    We’re only sayin’
    You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!
    Oklahoma O.K.

  5. Hooray! A nice slap in the face of the statists who want to limit our rights.

    And…. the cynic in me has to point out the obvious: “… for security, self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil power, when thereunto lawfully summoned, or for any other legitimate purpose…”

    The whiners and ninnies will take that ‘legitimate purpose’ as their clarion call. They do it now with their cries of ‘why does anyone need.’

    • Not really – that “legitimate purpose” is “any other,” following a list of delineated purposes; it’s kinda like 9A/10A.

      • You and I, and everyone here, see it that way.

        I’m talking about all of ‘them’ that think that the words “Well Regulated” mean lots of regulation.

  6. I still prefer our Founding Fathers’ version. If they’d wanted to give it teeth, they should have made it a felony for any federal agent to violate the Constitution inside the state.

    • Why limit it to federal? Any person whether fed, state, or private who limits ones right to keep and bear arms violates the Constitution.

  7. I hadn’t realized that HJR1026 made it out of the joint committee after passing the Senate last week. I’m thrilled for what this means for our state and I am hopefully that on November 4th we’ll overwhelmingly vote for the amending of Section II.

    More importantly I am hopeful that the ‘strict scrutiny’ will be applied to several of our current laws and have the desired affect. With any luck the regulations of campus carry will be challenged and we might have campus carry in a year or two by default.

  8. “… those who have been involuntarily committed in any mental institution” should be rewritten as “… those who are currently involuntarily committed in any mental institution”. Otherwise there is nothing to stop the Powers That Be catching anybody who ever was involuntarily committed, even if it was done wrongfully and even if he was released within hours; they will just read that as “… those who have ever been involuntarily committed in any mental institution” if it suits them. Don’t think it can’t happen – there was that man who was persecuted just like that after blogging. No doubt some reader can remind us of the details.

  9. “It gives the legislature a blank check to do what they want, including a ban on the carrying of firearms.”

    Um, not quite; there’s that “shall never be prohibited” part.

    However, it could certainly permit a truly onerous process by which to obtain, use or carry arms. Glad they’re fixing it.

  10. Question:

    Every poll I’ve seen (real numbers, not the cooked MDA/MAIG ad nauseum numbers) shows 2A support to be quite high.

    With so many states telling the Feds to bugger off and the unpopularity of Obama lin Biden, might a reworded, concise and strengthened 2A be a realistic hope?

    Something akin to: As a nation of sovereign individuals, the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms anywhere and for any awful purpose shall not be infringed.

    Kansas’d sure ratify it…

      • Lawful purpose just gives the commies a blank check to write new laws restricting us.
        Instead, it should be “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be questioned or infringed. No person may be prevented from keeping and bearing arms unless that person has been convicted of a crime where in a firearm or other weapon was used to assault, injure, threaten or kill another person. This law shall only be construed so as to apply to persons who commit murder, rape, robbery, assault, or battery, and is not intended to be a life time impediment. The Legislature, and no other body, shall craft laws to guarantee that persons who have paid their debt to society for their crimes, shall be provided a reasonable path to restore their right to keep and bear arms so long as they show they are rehabilitated and desire to be law biding citizens.”

        • Lose everything after the “unless.”

          The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Anyone who is not in prison or under someone’s adult supervision has the right to keep and bear arms. If you’re worried about a person’s past behavior. so what? It’s PRESENT behavior that matters. and if some “convicted felon” misuses a gun, he should be treated exactly the same as ANYONE who misuses a gun.

          The hoplophobes apparently also don’t know the difference between “have” and “use.” I have a penis. That does NOT make me a rapist, any more than having a gun makes a person a murderer.

        • @Rich

          No but murder makes someone a murderer and I don’t care if the person “paid their dues” or not, they still killed and are capable of doing it again. I’d prefer if those who have taken an innocent life not be given the tools to take more just because someone feels bad for them. You want to keep your rights? Don’t abuse them to begin with.

          • “No but murder makes someone a murderer and I don’t care if the person “paid their dues” or not, they still killed and are capable of doing it again.”

            Then clearly, the sentence should be life. If a person isn’t safe to be on the streets, they should still be locked up. But if they HAVE served their sentence/paid restitution, then they should get out as free as they were before they were convicted. When the sentence is done, let it be done.

        • Rich, I may not always agree with the specifics of your opinions, but in this case I think you’re spot on. As far as I’m concerned, if their crime was so egregious that they cannot own a gun then they should not be out of prison.

          Frankly, I have the same opinion regarding their right to vote.

          Oh, and you may want to be careful with the penis/rape analogy. I mean, if you have ever used it, Dworkin, MacKinnon and a lot of the radfems would say you *are* guilty.

  11. The flip side is that the CCP process in OK has to be signed off on by the local Sheriff with fingerprints, submitted to OHP with $85 or more depending on the length of the license (5 or 10 years), and you’re looking at 3-5 months or more for this to happen. I’d like to see further legislation requiring that local tag agencies rather than OHP are empowered to process and same day issue CCPs as an endorsement on the driver’s license or state-issued ID card.

  12. I was just visiting life long friends in Oklahoma. If anything, they will vote for this measure approaching 90% of the vote. The 50,000 volunteers in militias around the state are voters, as are their family members and friends and neighbors.

    It is so sad that we must take these steps in states. But since federal courts and national bureaucrats (and in some cases regional and state bureaucrats and elected officials) may sometimes, and too often, oftentimes, in knee jerk fashion, restrict gun and ammunition ownership each time the mentally unsound, criminals, or Muslim jihadists use some weapon to maim or murder citizens.

    • (it) finally and clearly renders our law consistent with established federal law

      Now THERE’S something to be proud of…

  13. Great Article. Thanks for the info, super helpful. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “OK SBI App for SDA License” to fill out?

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