Lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives have passed a bill that would allow elected county officials to carry guns into courthouses.
The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland, passed Monday on an 85-11 vote.
The bill would not allow guns to be carried into actual courtrooms, but would authorize county officials with concealed carry handgun permits to carry guns into the county courthouses in which they were elected. The officials must be performing official duties in order to carry their firearms.
Rep. Cleveland commented on the bill’s passing in a press release, saying the bill is intended to offer public servants more ways to defend themselves while on the job.
“This legislation was written to protect people like treasurers, who are often carrying money to and from the courthouse,” said Cleveland. “These people are the backbone of local government, and they ought to be able to protect themselves.”
Cleveland said he was concerned about the heightened emotions that sometimes arise when government issues are at stake.
“Sometimes folks get so mad at the government, they choose to make rash decisions and act out against an elected official,” Cleveland said. “I don’t want anything like that to happen in Oklahoma, but I also want to prepare our public servants as best we can. We are expecting the best and preparing for the worst.”
Cleveland continued: “Anyone who chooses to carry their handgun will have to have a concealed carry permit, and the guns will not be allowed in the courtroom itself.”
The National Rifle Association has endorsed the legislation, which now heads to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.