Making the AR-15 the official state rifle is a bill one lawmaker wants to see become a point of pride for the state, but not everyone agrees the weapon should be so closely associated with Oklahoma.
House Bill 2072 would designate the AR-15 the official rifle of Oklahoma. It was amended from a bill that would allow Uber and Lyft drivers to carry guns. “It’s a great bill,” said author Rep. Jay Steagall. He called it a novelty bill, like the one making the ribeye the official state steak. “Bills like this one are sometimes fun to bring some recognition to the state for profile reasons and this was going to be a fun one to run,” Rep. Steagall said. But Cacky Poarch with Moms Demand Action said the rifle often used in mass shootings should not be so closely tied with Oklahomans. “To make a joke out of AR-15, to make it a novelty, I think that’s a shame when there are so many priorities in this state,” Poarch said. “It is not a joke. That is something that we take really seriously and I think it’s a poor reflection on Oklahoma.” But Rep. Steagall, who owns the weapon himself, insists it has a special place among Oklahoma’s hunters and gun owners. “Listen, I understand the gun issue is sometimes touchy for some folks, but Oklahoma is very gun friendly,” he said. “We have lots of gun-friendly laws on the books, and we love protecting our second amendment rights here.” The bill was never heard on the house floor in lieu of other gun bills Rep. Steagall said needed the attention, but introducing a similar bill next session isn’t out of the question. [full article]