The House chamber balcony is flushed in red. Two grassroots organizations in red t-shirts are here on this cold Monday in February. A group advocating for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) wear red in solidarity with the Native American women disproportionately missing and murdered. With them, proponents of gun reform with the grassroots organization Mom’s Demand Action are here to watch HB 1111, authored by Kevin West which would change the penalty for carrying a gun in a place with alcohol from being a felony to a misdemeanor as long as the carrier is not consuming alcohol. In addition, if a bar owner asked someone carrying a firearm to leave the establishment and the gun carrier refuses to leave, this would also be a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Rep. Lowe, argued Oklahoma’s continued chipping away of firearm regulation, will disparage new businesses from coming to Oklahoma and that we are stripping away law enforcement’s ability to protecting citizens. He went as far to call this bill “the Free Timothy Harper” bill. (Timothy Harper was the self-proclaimed Second Amendment auditor who terrorized the public by exercising his newly instituted right to open carry a rifle in public. He persisted until he carried his rifle into a place serving alcohol where he was ultimately arrested.)

Author Kevin West, argued this bill does nothing more than create consistency in Oklahoma statute. He said this bill defines “consumption” and encourages people to have a designated carrier as well as driver when going out drinking. Representative Humphries said if someone came into a place he was at, he would hope he would have a the ability to protect himself, and that HB 1111 allows him to do that.

This bill passed 76 to 21.

The Cheyenne Arapaho Tribes held their Recognition and Legislative Lobby Day at the capitol today. They were partnering with the advocacy group for Native women, MMIW, with the primary intention of lobbying for HB 3345, also known as “Ida’s Law,” to be heard in committee before the deadline next Monday. This bill would direct the Bureau of Investigation to create an Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons to work with local agencies and law enforcement to assist with locating missing indigenous persons.

Author, Representative Mickey Dollens, says a primary reason why the MMIW epidemic exists is because there is uncertainty that stems from jurisdictional boundaries when a tribal member is missing or murdered and that this Office of Liaison would help clear that uncertainty.

HB 3345 as of the writing of this, has not been heard in Judiciary committee yet. The deadline for bills to be heard in committee is next Monday. House Judiciary meets on Tuesdays at 3:00 PM, so they will only meet one other time (tomorrow 2/18/2020) before the deadline passes. If you would like to participate in advocating for this bill to get heard, please contact House Judiciary Chair, Rep. Chris Kannady. Office phone: (405) 557-7337 Email: chris.kannady@okhouse.gov

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