By Zach Rael
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOCO) — An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to lower the age to legally carry firearms.
Republican State Rep. Jim Olsen wants to change the age from 21 to 18 years old. It is already getting pushback from Democratic lawmakers.
Democrats said expanding gun access to young ages should not be a priority in this upcoming legislative session. Meanwhile, the author of the bill said 18 is old enough for a gun.
“People should have the freedom to exercise their constitutional rights at 18,” Olsen said.
Olsen authored House Bill 1001. It would change the age restrictions for 18-year-olds to buy a gun.
The bill would also amend the age requirements to carry firearms. Olsen said 18-year-olds are old enough to start a family, buy a home and vote, so they should be able to buy a gun.
“Second Amendment rights should be exercised as well. You should have the ability to protect your spouse and family if necessary,” Olsen said.
Currently, 18-year-olds in Oklahoma can purchase a long shotgun or rifle but cannot purchase a handgun. Anyone under 21 cannot carry a loaded gun with exceptions for military service or hunting.
“I think 21 is young enough without proper training or background check,” Democratic state Rep. Mickey Dollens said.
Dollens said the way the state’s constitutional carry laws are set up, he doesn’t agree with letting younger Oklahomans purchase.
“The thing about constitutional carry in Oklahoma is it doesn’t require any permit, background check, or training. If an 18-year-old had proper training and a background check, I would be more open to the idea. Otherwise, I’m a no on this,” Dollens said.
Minority leader Rep. Cyndi Munson also released a statement.
“There have been seven mass shootings in Oklahoma since May 29, 2022, so I am disappointed House Republicans have prioritized expanding access to guns ahead of the next legislative session. We know putting guns in the hands of untrained, unlicensed young people will not make our communities safer,” Munson said.
The bill has been filed as an emergency priority, meaning that if passed, it would go into effect immediately. The next legislative session begins in March.
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