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Oklahoma Lawmakers Debate Gun Laws Following Tulsa Shooting

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, hospital shooting that left four dead on Wednesday afternoon is the latest in the slew of mass shootings to rock the nation since mid-May and Oklahoma lawmakers are divided on how to combat the gun violence epidemic.

Democrats remain in favor of bolstering background checks and strengthening gun laws while most Republicans believe that guns aren’t the problem and that the focus should go toward mental health support.

Oklahoma currently has some of the loosest gun control laws in the country, allowing permitless carry, no requirement of registration and the nation’s only anti-red flag law.

The shooter was able to lawfully purchase an AR-15-style firearm just hours before the shooting. He was also armed with a handgun which he legally obtained a few days prior.

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State Rep. Monroe Nichols (D) called for the passing of the “Stand Against Violence and Extremism Act” (SAVE) which would do away with the permitless carry and concealed carry laws. It would additionally raise the lawful age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. Nichols said he plans to introduce the bill despite the opposite of gun advocate Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

Republican lawmakers, such as Rep. Nathan Dahm, disagree, arguing that the Democrats’ suggestions would not stop shootings and instead would only hinder law-abiding gun owners.

“Well, criminals commit crimes all the time with illegally purchased firearms as well,” Dahm said. “Criminals are going to commit crimes. They’re going to cause harm no matter what laws we put on the books. So most of the gun control measures that are being proposed will just harm law-abiding citizens.”

Rose Carter

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