Tahlequah Daily Press

September 30, 2013

Firearms PAC visits city

Organization seeks to have effect on gun legislation

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — If a Thursday meeting at Napoli’s was any indication, Tahlequah may soon have its own chapter of a political action group focused on Oklahoma firearms laws.

The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, or OK2A, held an informational gathering, attended by about two dozen people, to summarize its accomplishments and future plans.

“We wanted to have this exploratory gathering and gauge interest,” said Tim Gillespie, the organization’s founder, president and director of communications. “If people have that interest we would like to be established here.”

Among those present were Craig Roberts and John Baker of the Locust Grove OK2A chapter. Roberts is chapter president and both are professional firearms instructors.

Gillespie said his organization’s successful efforts to retain and expand the lawful parameters for citizens to own and carry firearms are unmatched in Oklahoma.

“During the last three years, we have gotten 30 measures through the state legislature and we have killed five,” he said. “In almost all of the cases, we actually provided the language in the measures. No other group has that record.”

While the organization has kept track of the national gun control debate and seeks changes to federal regulations, Gillespie said it is often more effective to pursue action at the state level of government, even on issues concerning the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe that if enough states stand up and say no to a federal law, there really is no way the federal government can enforce it,” he said.

Gillespie also spoke of the organizations future plans, and he spoke at length on the national Gun Free School Zones Act, which forbids carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school.

“Whatever its intent, it means someone with a lawful state permit to carry a weapon is committing a federal crime if he walks or drives within 1,000 feet of a school,” Gillespie said. “We believe the federal government must respect state-level laws that allow people to carry. That should include reciprocity agreements.”

Reciprocity laws between states can can agree to recognize licenses and residencies. Those with an Oklahoma permit can carry firearms in Texas, and Texans’ permits are legal in Oklahoma.

“The federal government doesn’t recognize those agreements,” Gillespie said.

“We once figured it out. If an Oklahoman with a firearm and carry permit drives south on I-35, between the Red River and Dallas he will commit 28 federal offenses, each punishable by a minimum of five years in prison.”

OK2A maintains a daily presence at the Oklahoma capitol, and its Web site lists measures it has successfully pushed for passage or defeated. For information about the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, visit ok2a.org or write to Gillespie at tgillespie@ ok2a.org.

srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com