As the Oklahoma legislature convenes for their 2023 legislative session this week, lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety measures. Oklahoma has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, scoring only 7.5 out of 100 for gun law strength, while maintaining a gun violence rate well above the national average. The state lacks all foundation gun safety laws such as background checks for all firearm sales, concealed firearm carry permitting, extreme risk protection orders, and secure firearm storage requirements, and state legislators are actively working to weaken the state’s gun safety system even further. Oklahoma also has no laws prohibiting domestic abusers or individuals convicted of a hate crime from possessing guns.
Lawmakers have put Oklahoman lives in jeopardy by repealing basic gun safety measures over the last legislative session and passing dangerous measures that weaken the state’s gun laws. During the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers must show up for their constituents and reject the dangerous ‘guns everywhere’ agenda, including keeping guns off college campuses, keeping guns off of school grounds, and rejecting expansion of stand your ground or “Shoot First” laws. Moreover, local leaders should focus on passing bills that would aim to protect survivors of intimate partner violence from gun violence. In 2020, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, domestic violence reports in the state reached its highest level in at least 20 years. In Oklahoma, 72% of female victims of intimate partner homicide were killed using a firearm.
As the legislative session began yesterday morning, Moms Demand Action volunteers showed up and visited the offices of the 24 new legislators.
Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Oklahoma:
- In an average year, 735 people die and 1,244 are wounded by guns in Oklahoma.
- Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Oklahoma, and an average of 64 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 52% are suicides and 43% are homicides.
- Communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of our country’s gun violence crisis every single day. Black people in Oklahoma are 6 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide.
- In Oklahoma, 66% of gun deaths are suicide and 32% are homicides. This is compared to 59% and 39% nationwide, respectively.
- Gun violence in Oklahoma costs $2,595 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Oklahoma $10.3 billion each year, of which $206 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Oklahoma is available here.