Big change to Oklahoma's gun law worries OSBI - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Big change to Oklahoma's gun law worries OSBI

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Senate Bill 1212 has been sitting on the desk of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for seven days now.

If she signs it, anyone over the age of 21 could carry a concealed or unconcealed weapon without a license, permit, or background check, as currently required.

Some law enforcement officials around the state have voiced concerns about the potential impact.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Beth Green said if the legislation is enacted, police agencies would have no way to know if someone is legally carrying a gun at any given time.

The agency is worried not only for officers' safety, but also the safety of Oklahomans.

"These are significant safety concerns kind of across the board," Green said. 

The OSBI could also face serious cuts if the bill becomes law. The agency estimates it could lose close to $4.7 million in funding that comes from weapons-related fines and fees. 

"The OSBI already has 75 vacant positions, which means we are operating at about 29 percent staffing right now," Green said. "If this goes into law -- in addition to cutting employees in our self-defense act unit -- another 40 to 60 positions will have to be cut agency-wide by the end of this year."

And there's one more point for the governor to consider in making her decision on Senate Bill 1212.

"To put all of this in perspective, if this were in effect on April 19 1995, Timothy McVeigh would not have been able to be detained by law enforcement," Green said.

The bill would let anyone in the military who is over the age of 18 carry a weapon as well.

The measure won approval from both the Oklahoma House and Senate. There's no word on when Gov. Fallin will make her final decision on its fate.

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