Oklahoma Bill Would Allow Pointing Guns In Self-Defense

A newly proposed Oklahoma state law, formally known as Senate Bill 40, could make it legal for people to brandish guns in an act of self-defense.

As they currently stand, state laws forbid the deliberate exposure of firearms except in instances of deadly force, according to Tulsa World.

"When you go and get your [concealed carry] license, that instructor tells you that you don't bring your gun out, you don't show your gun, you don't intimidate somebody with your gun," said Slaughterville Rep. Bobby Cleveland. "If you bring it out, you have to shoot."

The language in the document spells out citizens' rights where firearm use is concerned: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

SB 40 goes on to specify a person's rights to brandish, but not discharge, a firearm: "A person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony shall not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act."

The bill specifies "defensive force" as the chief measure for which the brandishing of a firearm would be legal under SB 40. This includes instances of self-defense, or circumstances where showing a gun could stop a criminal act.

Provisions in SB 40 clarify that the legal exemption does not apply to those who brandish a firearm while involved in an illegal activity, including using another person's residence for illegal activity.

On April 25, SB 40 successfully made it through the Oklahoma House of Representatives by a comfortable margin, much to the disappointment of some lawmakers.

"This bill and all of the other bills that are dealing with guns this session, it's becoming clear that some people are more concerned about gun rights and the gun owners' rights than they are about the people who are experiencing violence at the hands of those gun owners," said Norman Rep. Emily Virgin, according to News OK.

"It just seems like we're going in the wrong direction on this issue. We really don't need to be making it any easier for people to have guns and getting those in the hands of the wrong people."

SB 40 is awaiting a procedural vote in the state Senate, as well as a review from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.