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Bill would allow some to carry guns into Oklahoma Capitol

by The Associated Press | February 16, 2015 at 9:26 a.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma legislator says anyone with a license to carry a handgun should be allowed to take the weapon into "the people's Capitol."

"It's our God-given right and our constitutional right," said Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, who has filed legislation to allow weapons to be taken into the Capitol building.

Bennett's bill has been assigned to the House Public Safety Committee but has not been set for a hearing.

A similar bill was approved in the House Judiciary Committee last year, but the proposal did not reach the full House.

Security is tight at the Capitol, with visitors having to go through metal detectors and send bags, cellphones and, at times, even pocket change through an x-ray machine.

"I'm a believer in the Second Amendment, but there are several people that have reservations about it," including the sergeants at arms who guard the House and Senate chambers, said Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, chairman of the public safety panel.

Christian said he wants to hear from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which provides security for both the Capitol and the governor.

Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Paul Timmons declined comment and Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, said the office hadn't reviewed the proposal.

Those who are armed would be allowed through security checkpoints after presenting a valid handgun license. Capitol guards would not be allowed "to remove or inspect any weapon or restrain any person carrying a properly concealed loaded or unloaded handgun without probable cause that a crime has been committed," according to the measure.

Christian said he planned to discuss the bill with Bennett.

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