The Republican governor of Oklahoma, one of the nation’s reddest states, vetoed a bill late Friday that would have permitted adults to carry firearms without a permit.
The move by Gov. Mary Fallin marked a rare defeat in such a conservative state by the National Rifle Association, which strongly backed the measure.
The bill is similar to so-called “constitutional carry” legislation adopted in a dozen other states. It would have authorized people 21 and older and military personnel who are at least 18 to legally carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a state-issued license or permit.
The state currently requires a license to carry a handgun openly or concealed.
Fallin cited opposition from the business community and law enforcement authorities for her decision. In a statement announcing the veto, Fallin emphasized her support for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and noted she has previously signed concealed and open carry measures.
“I believe the firearms laws we currently have in place are effective, appropriate and minimal,” she said. Fallin noted that the bill also would have eliminated the requirement for a training course and reduced the level of background checks to carry a firearm.
The veto drew the immediate ire of the NRA. “Make no mistake, this temporary setback will be rectified when Oklahoma residents elect a new and genuinely pro-Second Amendment governor,” said Chris Cox, NRA executive director for legislative affairs.