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OK’s Constitutional Carry Bill: A Big Step Backward

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is a passage often referenced, whether in defense of or attacking the outdated and commonly misinterpreted part of the document.

The interpretation of the Second Amendment has been argued heavily since the start of the 20th century, and we have seemingly made no progress in this debate on either side. But, Feb. 27 at 4:30 p.m., America and the state of Oklahoma took a big step backward.

Yesterday afternoon, when Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2597, more commonly known as the “Constitutional carry” bill, mass shooting survivors from around the country felt the simultaneous slap in the face as gun laws and regulations got weaker.

The State Senate’s statement reads:

The bill: Permits Oklahomans age 21 and older to carry a firearm without a permit; Permits veterans, active duty, and reserve military age 18 and over to carry without a permit; Prohibits felons and those with domestic violence convictions or who have been adjudicated as having a mental illness from carrying a firearm.

There it is, right there, in writing from the Capitol. Anyone, barring mental illness or a felony conviction, can carry a firearm; no training, permit or special instructions required.

The question I was faced with today was, “Do Americans love their guns to the extent of ignorance?”

In America, since 1996, 1,153 people have died in mass shootings (four or more people shot, excluding domestic and gang-related instances). Out of this number, 189 of those were children and teenagers. In these shootings, there were a total of 309 different guns used, 171 of those obtained legally. There have been 161 different shooters, some with violent pasts and some who seemed to be fine until they attacked, which clearly shows both a mass shooting and the shooter are virtually unpredictable.

Fifty years before 1996, there were only 25 mass shootings, but since then there have been 162. And this is only mass shootings, which does not include the unfathomable and monstrous number of gun-related deaths every day.

To give you a rough understanding of how bad gun violence is, we are not even a full two months into 2019, and there have already been 2,207 deaths caused by guns in America (excluding suicides).

After looking at these numbers, why would making guns more accessible make us safer? In the right hands, a gun is a life saver, but we need to make sure those guns are going to the right hands.

Now let me make one thing clear: I am pro-Second Amendment and am OK with guns. I see no problem with owning a gun for safety purposes or sport. But neither of those instances require a militarized or automatic rifle.

Making the laws looser does not enable the would-be legal citizen to get a gun, as they could have gotten one regardless. It allows the people who would have been on the edge or just on the outside of getting a gun to not only purchase one but carry it publicly, without training or a permit. Is this what we want? Is this so-called “Constitutional right” worth a life?

“This law is going to get American children killed and the governor will be responsible,” Founder of March For Our Lives and Parkland high school shooting survivor David Hogg said. “That’s why we need students to rally against him and all [the] morally corrupt leaders.”

The Second Amendment, in my opinion, needs some serious re-interpretation if this is what people believe it is saying. It was set in place for responsible people to own guns to protect themselves and their families. However, it was not set in place to allow anyone who can pass a background check to be allowed to carry a gun without any form of training or permit.

I believe people, not only in our state but also in Washington, need to do their research a little more. This epidemic of gun violence which has plagued our country is the real national emergency, and it needs to be addressed.

Updated David Hogg’s quote at 4:48p.m. 

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