(Check out the discussion about this post on Daily Kos.)
The next time you hear some local Second Amendment distorter talk about the government’s efforts to put more restrictions on guns, remember this: Oklahoma has some of the least restrictive weapon laws in the nation.
According to a new report by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for stricter gun laws, the Oklahoma ranks second to last among states when it comes to laws governing gun sales and use.
According to the Brady Campaign:
Oklahoma has weak gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market and allow the sale of guns without background checks according to the Brady Campaign. In the organization’s 2009 state scorecards released for all 50 states, Oklahoma tied for second to last place in America – earning just two points out of a total of 100.
According to government figures, Oklahoma also has the country’s fourteenth highest percentage of crime guns recovered that were originally purchased within the state. The Brady Campaign relates this “homegrown” gun violence to the lack of gun laws in the state and nationally.
Oklahoma would have made a complete zero on the Brady Campaign scorecard, but it doesn’t allow students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Gun advocates here have been pushing such a proposal in recent years.
The Brady Campaign is named after James Brady, who was shot along with former President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Brady, who served as Reagan’s press secretary, was permanently injured in the attack.
On its site, the organization says it tries to the stop the National Rifle Association “from running roughshod over our nation ‘s gun laws.”
The news over the state’s ranking was greeted with cheers by the Oklahoma Rifle Association, according to a story in the Tulsa World. The ORA’s executive director told The World it’s a “Second Amendment” issue.
But, as I’ve written before, the Second Amendment simply does not guarantee unrestricted use of weapons. Here’s the amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Note how the second clause of the sentence, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is dependent on the first clause, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” The amendment deals with select militias when it pertains to weapons.
Even if you read “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” as non-dependent on the first clause, it still does not specify that there should be no oversight over the registration much less the use of weapons.
(I’m well aware of the U.S. Supreme Court Heller decision. I’m unsure it solves the issue.)
The point is that there are too many crimes committed with guns in this country and Oklahoma. We need to get illegal guns off the streets, and we need sensible gun laws and registration rules to help reduce violent crime.