OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – An Oklahoma judge refused Wednesday to grant a Democratic state lawmaker’s request to halt a new law allowing most people to permitless carry firearms in public without training or a background check.
Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews declined to issue a preliminary injunction against House Bill 2597, which goes into effect Friday.
The Republican-backed “constitutional carry” law was signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in February. It will allow Oklahomans older than 21 years to carry openly or concealed without a permit or training. Military members over the age of 18 years are included, as well.
State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, sued Stitt and the state earlier this month. The lawsuit was filed after Lowe and gun control advocates failed to raise enough signatures in the summer to place the matter on the ballot for voters to recall.
“In short, like the numerous acts of the Legislature that have previously been struck down for violating the single-subject rule, HB 2597 addresses 'multiple subjects that are not germane, relative and cognate to a common theme and purpose,’" the complaint stated.
Judge Andrews concluded the law does not violate the single-subject rule under the Oklahoma Constitution in declining to issue a preliminary injunction. He did not rule on the merits of Lowe’s lawsuit.
Lowe told reporters he will appeal the ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Thursday, saying he knew “this was going to be a long process.”
“We knew this was going to be a long fight,” Lowe said. “We knew eventually this case will go to the [state] Supreme Court.”
Plaintiff’s attorney Melanie Wilson Rughani, with Crowe Dunlevy in Oklahoma City, told Andrews HB 2597 does violate the single-subject rule by covering issues including transportation of firearms in cars and immunity.
Republican Attorney General Mike Hunter said he was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“My office is proud to defend the constitutional carry law against a political attack by plaintiffs who were unable to succeed at the Legislature, unable to persuade voters in the referendum process and now seeking to overturn a duly enacted law with meritless claims and scare tactics,” he said.
Don Spencer, executive director of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, attended the hearing. He deemed the lawsuit as “a Hail Mary attempt.” His group will hold a rally at 10 a.m. Friday morning on the steps of the Oklahoma Capitol.
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