Last Thursday, February 20, 2020, the Oklahoma State House’s Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would expand protections under the state’s stand-your-ground gun law while rejecting another effort to repeal Constitutional Carry, which was passed last year.
Stand-your-ground laws buttress the right to self-defense. They permit the use of force against perceived threats.
House Bill 3165, which State Representative Kevin West sponsored, shifts the burden for proving immunity from the defendant to the prosecution in cases where force is used. Traditionally, the burden of proof is on the defendant. Put simply, defendants wouldn’t have to demonstrate they were reacting to threats. Instead, the prosecution would have to prove they weren’t responding to a threat.
Stand-your-ground laws are popular in pro-Second Amendment circles. However, they’re controversial to gun control proponents because they argue these laws are “racist”, despite the fact that blacks in Florida have disproportionately invoked stand-your-ground defenses in defensive gun use cases.
West’s bill was unanimously passed 12-0.
On the other hand, the committee resoundingly rejected HB 3357, the Constitutional Carry repeal bill sponsored by Democrat State Representative Jason Lowe.
Last year, Lowe was unsuccessful in gathering enough signatures on a repeal petition to put the issue on the statewide ballot. He even told the committee members last week that Constitutional Carry is “a ticking time bomb” and an “utter disaster.”
Unconvinced, the committee resolutely voted 1-11 against advancing the bill. The only dissenting voice was Democrat State Representative Ben Loring.
Oklahoma gun owners can sleep well at night knowing that Constitutional Carry remains safe for the time being.