Tuesday, April 1, 2008

IS HB 2513 DEAD?
by Steve Fair

"We want to be sensitive to Oklahoman's second amendment rights, but we've got to be practical."
~Oklahoma State Senator Mike Morgan- D-Stillwater

Senator Morgan's statement above reveal the 2nd amendment was considered by the Senate leadership in this situation. Unfortunately, it was weighed in the balances and found wanting.
~Steve Fair

On the front page of today's Oklahoman an article states the campus handgun bill- HB 2513- is dead! The reason? Because the Republican? Co-Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said that he and his Democratic co-chair- "Didn't want the bill heard." There are some valid reasons conservative Oklahomans should be concerned the way this bill was killed:
  • This decision was not made by the legislators, but by higher education administrators!

While college administrators have the right to express their opinion on issues that impact their area of expertise, legislators should weigh the facts based on the common good and make a "fact based" decision. In this case, that was not done. There are no facts that support that arming off duty police officers and military personnel who are CLEET certified will make colleges less safe. In fact, statistics indicate otherwise. For legislators on both sides of the aisle to cave to the pressure brought to bear by the administrators reveals a lack of courage and unwillingness to stand up for the average Oklahoman.

  • Our U.S. Constitutional rights were violated by this decision!

The 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. According to The Oklahoman, fourteen college Presidents and other assorted anti-gun folks were at the state Capitol to voice their concerns about HB 2513. Some of the things said were distortions and outright lies. Consider the following. State Senator Johnny Crutchfield, D-Ardmore who is a lifelong member of the NRA (He should be kicked out of the organization) said, "I am not particularly fond of the bill that lets half a classroom of kids have a gun." Two things wrong with that statement- First, 50% of the population are not CLEET certified- less than one percent of the population of the state has a conceal and carry permit. CLEET certified individuals are far less. Crutchfield's statement is ignorant and untrue. Second, what happened to the right to defend ourselves? In this country, we should have the right to defend ourselves against the bad guys. This bill only provides safety and would arm ONLY those who are CLEET certified. In reality, every student has a right to be safe in the college classroom and this bill would enhance safety by allowing trained individuals to be armed- not half the class, but only those who are TRAINED. Crutchfield should resign from the NRA and publicly denounce any of their tenets. His statement reflect no respect for the 2nd amendment. Crutchfield is in his final term and will not have to face voters again which could account for his lack of concern for what the people in his district think. The decision to not have this bill heard on the floor was made by the higher education lobby which means we have legislators who are more interested in pleasing bureaucrats than constituents. That should greatly concern the average Oklahoman. If your legislator is not representing your values, get rid of them- no matter what their party affiliation may be.

  • Republicans are not universally conservative!

The core of what conservative Republicans believe includes the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Oklahoma Republicans include belief in the 2nd amendment in their party platform. Republican candidates for office ,at every level, state their undying support of the second amendment at every opportunity. But as evidenced by the actions of State Senate Co-Chair Mike Johnson- R, Kingfisher, all Republicans are not conservative. Crutchfields actions are somewhat understandable, but Johnson's are puzzling at best. Of course, Johnson was elected to his final term in 2006, so he like Crutchfield, doesn't have to face the voters in his district again. That may account for his lack of iron rail up the shirt tail and his lack of willingness to stand for traditional Republican principles. An elected official's true character becomes evident when they become a lame duck. That's when they can reveal their true values, convictions and character. Johnson's lack of willingness to stand up for Republican principles shows who he really is- someone who is unwillingness to take on the higher education lobby and doesn't believe in a person's right to defend themselves. Johnson should resign from the Republican party, like Crutchfield from the NRA. Their actions don't square with the philosophy of who they are affiliated with.

This decision to not hear the bill on the floor should be revisited if the legislature is truly interested in protecting students. The Senate leadership's unwillingness to put it to a vote on the floor reveals they are unwilling to take a stand on the issue. Seventy five percent of Oklahomans are strong 2nd amendment supporters- that includes Democrat and Republican voters- and no Senator wants to go into an election with a Nay vote on a gun issue hanging over his head. That would be hard to explain back in the district, so Crutchfield and Johnson (sounds like a comedy team) made it easy for their fellow Senators- they killed it in committee.

Oh for the day, when we have some Tom Coburns in the Oklahoma Senate who could care less if they are re-elected and base their decisions on sound judgement, the law and the common good of the people. Thank God for term limits- there may be some hope in the future!

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