Monday, November 11, 2019

The Right of the People; By State Rep. Jim Olsen

State Representative Jim Olsen

“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.” 

This is the straightforward text of the Second Amendment. The Founding Fathers of our nation understood that this, and other rights, are not granted by the government, but rather are natural God-given rights that are simply recognized by the government.

The Second Amendment is under strong assault in this day and hour. 

What started years ago, ostensibly, as a plea for minimal controls, has now evolved to many saying, “Oh yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15” and “it’s time to eliminate the Second Amendment.” 

From the beginning, my word has been that I would do all that I could to not only defend the Second Amendment, but to advance our Second Amendment rights. To that end, I was a primary author on the Constitutional carry bill that just became the law of the land in Oklahoma. You no longer have to seek government approval and pay money to the government to exercise your God-given right. 

If you are 21 years of age and a law-abiding citizen without a felony, domestic violation conviction, or mental illness adjudication, you may choose to carry a firearm, either concealed or openly. Universities and private businesses may restrict this if they choose.

Advocates for gun control claim this law will lead to a big increase in crime and turn Oklahoma into the “wild west.” A look at this practice in other states can give us some assurance here. Fifteen other states have enacted Constitutional carry without any noticeable ill effects. Neither Kansas nor Arkansas have turned into the “wild west.” 

In fact, this law will change our state for the better because it advances one of the most fundamental of human rights: the right to keep and bear arms. 

On the federal level, some are examining the possibility of enacting “red flag” law. The idea is that we could prevent shootings by having the government identify people thought to be unstable or dangerous, and the government would remove their guns ahead of time. 

I understand how this argument could seem to be appealing. However, the issue with this approach is that it does away with due process and the presumption of innocence. It is not right to take away the rights of some to increase the safety of others. 

There is a possibility that the Legislature may enact legislation to prevent red flag laws from being carried out in the state of Oklahoma. It is my hope that my fellow lawmakers will continue to be vigilant in our defense of the Second Amendment. That is certainly my intention! It is, after all, the God-given right of the people!

Rep. Jim Olsen represents District 2 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes portions of Seqouyah County.

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