Oklahoma has enacted multiple, increasingly far-reaching firearm preemption statutes:
Oklahoma’s primary preemption law generally states that “The State Legislature hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation in this state touching in any way firearms, air powered pistols, air powered rifles, knives, components, ammunition and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state,” and generally declares any existing or future orders, ordinances, or regulations in this field, null and void, unless they fall within certain narrow exceptions (described below).1 This law expressly prohibits any political subdivision from adopting any “order, ordinance, or regulation concerning in any way the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, carrying, bearing, transportation, licensing, permit, registration, taxation other than sales and compensating use taxes, or other controls on firearms, knives, components, ammunition, and supplies.”2
Oklahoma law provides that “when a person’s rights pursuant to the protection of the preemption provisions” of this law have been violated, the person shall have the right to bring a civil action against the responsible persons, municipality, and political subdivision jointly and severally for injunctive relief, monetary damages, or both such remedies.3
In 2021, Oklahoma also passed so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary state” legislation declaring that the State Legislature “hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation by any agency of [Oklahoma] or any political subdivision in [Oklahoma] to infringe upon the rights of a citizen of the State of Oklahoma, the unalienable right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed to them by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”4 (See footnote for the expansive definitions or “arms” and of “infringement”).5
This law declares that “Any federal, state, county or municipal act, law, executive order, administrative order, court order, rule, policy or regulation ordering the buy-back, confiscation or surrender of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition from law-abiding citizens of [Oklahoma] shall be considered an infringement on the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by” the Constitutions of the US and Oklahoma,6 and defines “law-abiding citizen” to mean a person who is not otherwise precluded under Oklahoma’s very weak gun laws from possessing a firearm7 The law states that it shall be the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies of Oklahoma to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms within the state’s borders from infringement, and seeks to expressly “preempt” any regulation of arms and ammunition pursuant to the National Firearms Act of 1934 “prohibited or regulated on or after the effective date” of the act [April 26, 2021], and any regulations or provision of the Gun Control Act of 1968, “prohibited or regulated on or after that same date.8
Oklahoma also passed legislation in 2020 that similarly declared preemption over the entire field of legislation touching upon extreme risk protection orders against or upon citizens of Oklahoma, and prohibiting state agencies and local governments from accepting any grants or funding to implement any law, rule, executive, order, judicial order, or judicial findings that would have the effect of forcing an extreme risk protection order against or upon a citizen of Oklahoma.9
Moreover, Oklahoma law states that, in enacting the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act (providing for licenses to carry concealed handguns), the state “finds it necessary to occupy the field of regulation of the bearing of concealed or unconcealed handguns.”10 Oklahoma law also expressly states that the otherwise lawful open carrying of a firearm under the state’s public carry laws shall not be punishable by any municipality or other local government as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, or similar offense against public order.11
Oklahoma law expressly authorizes municipalities to adopt an ordinance:
- Relating to the discharge of firearms within the jurisdiction of the municipality;
- Allowing the municipality to issue a traffic citation for transporting a firearm improperly in a vehicle in violation of state law, provided however, that penalties contained for violation of such ordinance may not exceed the penalties established in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.12; and
- Allowing the municipality to issue a citation to an individual or the parent or guardian of a minor who discharges an air powered pistol or air powered rifle in an intentional or negligent manner which causes the projectile to leave the intended premises.
In addition, Oklahoma does not prohibit “any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality concerning the confiscation of property used in violation of the ordinances of the municipality.”13 No municipal ordinance relating to the improper transportation of a firearm or knife may include a provision for confiscation of property.14
The Oklahoma Attorney General has opined that the boards of Oklahoma’s public libraries may ban patrons from bringing concealed weapons into the libraries.15 While Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(A) preempts firearm-related ordinances by “political subdivisions,” which may include a county or multi-county library, the Attorney General stated that “a plain reading of [Oklahoma’s concealed weapons licensing and preemption statutes] expresses a specific legislative intent to allow Libraries [sic], as property owners, to control the possession of weapons on property owned or controlled by the library” to the extent of the boundaries of their property.16
As noted above, Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(D) provides that when a person’s rights under the section 1289.24 preemption law have been violated, the person shall have the right to bring a civil action against the responsible persons, municipality, and political subdivision jointly and severally for injunctive relief, monetary damages or both such remedies. The Attorney General opined in 2003 that section 1289.24(D) does not impose civil liability on a municipal or county law enforcement officer if the officer acts in conformity with state law in seizing a firearm transported in violation of section 1289.13A (improper transportation of a firearm) or other state firearm-related statutes.17
Other Statutory Provisions
In 2012, Oklahoma adopted a law prohibiting municipal and state officials from prohibiting or suspending the sale, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying, transfer, and storage of firearms, ammunition, and ammunition accessories during a declared state of emergency, that are otherwise legal under state law.18
In 2021, Oklahoma also adopted a new law formalizing a process for the state Legislature and/or Attorney General to review federal executive orders, agency rules, and “congressional action[s],” to seek an exemption from the action or to seek to have the action declared unconstitutional by a court; this law states that state and local governments and other publicly funded organizations are prohibited from implementing, adopting, or enforcing any such federal action that has been declared unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this process, including federal actions found to be unconstitutional “regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”19
For state laws prohibiting local units of government (i.e., cities and counties) from filing certain types of lawsuits against the gun industry, see our page on Immunity Statutes in Oklahoma.
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- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(D).
- See 2021 OK SB 631 (enacting Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24e).
- This law defines “arms” to mean “any firearm, firearm part, accessory or ammunition required to render that firearm operable and effective,” and defines “infringement” to mean “any law that reduces, represses, diminishes or subverts the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition, parts and accessories in any amount that is legal as of the effective date of this act [April 26, 2021].” Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24e(E).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24e(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24e(E)(3).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24e(D).
- See 2019 OK SB 1081.; Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1289.24c. For the purposes of this law, “extreme risk protection order” is defined to mean: “an executive order, written order or warrant issued by a court or signed by a magistrate or comparable officer of the court, for which the primary purpose is to reduce the risk of firearm-related death or injury by doing one or more of the following:
1. Prohibiting a named individual from having under the custody or control of the individual, owning, possessing or receiving a firearm; or
2. Having a firearm removed or requiring the surrender of firearms from a named individual.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.25.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(A)(3).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(A)(2).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.24(C).
- OK Op. Att’y Gen. No. 95-96, 1996 Okla. AG LEXIS 32 (April 24, 1996).
- 1996 Okla. AG LEXIS 32, *2-*3.
- OK Op. Att’y Gen. No. 03-46, 2003 Okla. AG LEXIS 41 (Nov. 3, 2003).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1321.4(B).
- See 2021 OK HB 1236, Sec. 3 (effective July 1, 2021.