Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants Guns in Capitol | Courthouse News Service
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Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants Guns in Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - Oklahomans with licenses will be able to carry handguns into the state Capitol without going through security checkpoints, if a proposed bill becomes law.

State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, filed House Bill 1324 on Jan. 27. It would allow licensed handgun holders to bypass the myriad of security checkpoints at the Capitol upon presentation of their valid handgun license.

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a peace officer to remove or inspect any weapon or restrain any person carrying a properly concealed loaded or unloaded handgun without probable cause that a crime has been committed," the bill states.

The bill has been assigned to the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee. A hearing date has not been scheduled.

Bennett told The Associated Press he is not concerned about safety being compromised inside the building.

"There's always a level of 'what if' out there," Bennett said Monday. "But until they do ... something illegal that would take away the right to be licensed, they should be able to carry. The right to defend ourselves doesn't stop at the Capitol doors and the right to carry doesn't stop at the Capitol doors."

The bill comes weeks after the issue of lawmaker safety made headlines in Texas, where state legislators hastily approved a measure allowing installation of panic buttons in their state Capitol offices after an ugly confrontation between Rep. Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass, and pro-gun, open-carry supporters.

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