Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

Jun 26, 2022, 12:58 PM | Updated: 2:08 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data.

The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has recorded some of its deadliest months in history since the law took effect.

In the decade before “permitless carry,” only 10 months had 70 or more firearm deaths. From November 2019 until January, a 15-month span, 10 months had more than 70 gun-related deaths, the newspaper reported. That included 95 deaths in June 2020, the deadliest month in the 12 years of data examined.

The average number of gun deaths per month increased nearly 20% compared with the 10 years before the law took effect, a period in which the population grew just over 6%, according to the newspaper’s analysis.

The newspaper reported Sunday that it’s hard to determine if the permitless carry law directly contributed to a rise in gun violence. At least some of the increase occurred even as homicides rose nationally in the U.S. in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But as Oklahoma lawmakers have increased access to firearms over the past decade, firearm-caused suicides, accidents and homicides in the state have increased, The Oklahoman reported.

The debate over gun control measures and efforts to expand gun rights comes following recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, Uvalde, Texas, and in Tulsa.

When Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the permitless carry bill into law, he said it would expand the rights of Oklahoma residents while also making the state safer.

“There shouldn’t be any uptick in violence,” he said.

Kate Vesper, a spokesperson for Stitt, said the governor would continue to fight “to protect Oklahomans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

In recent weeks, Vesper said, “Stitt has held school safety meetings … to examine what policies, laws, and procedures are already in place and which of those the state can and should better enforce, as well as examining any additional steps the state may need to take to keep our kids and schools safe.”

Since 2010, more than 8,600 Oklahomans have been killed by gun violence.

In 2010, Oklahoma’s gun-caused death rate was 14.3 per 100,000 residents, based on data from the state medical examiner and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. In 2020, the gun death rate was 21.2, one of the highest in the nation.

“The narrative of saying we need more guns is only creating a situation where more people are dying from guns,” said Joshua Harris-Till, an Oklahoma City-based gun control advocate who lost his sister to gun violence nine years ago.

But Republican leaders in Oklahoma have not shown an interest in any gun control measures.

“We are serious about public safety. We are also serious about protecting the Second Amendment,” Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, told reporters this month.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Lebanese soldiers stand guard outside a bank where an armed man has taken hostages, in Beirut, Leba...
Associated Press

Beirut bank standoff exposes desperation of economic crisis

BEIRUT (AP) — A judge ordered a gunman who took up to 10 hostages at a Beirut bank to force the release of his trapped savings to stay behind bars Friday, apparently a bid to prevent copycats as desperation deepens over Lebanon’s economic meltdown. A few dozen relatives of Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein briefly closed a […]
8 hours ago
Volunteers help clean up dirt and debris off of the main street in downtown Fleming-Neon, Ky., on F...
Associated Press

FEMA faces criticism for response as flood death count grows

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear called out the Federal Emergency Management Agency for denying too many requests for assistance in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky, where the number of people who died as a result of the disaster has risen to 39. The official death count rose Thursday when an additional death was counted in […]
8 hours ago
FILE- In this April 15, 2018, file photo, the company logo hangs on the side of a showroom at a Hyu...
Associated Press

Kia/Hyundai seat belt pretensioners under investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation has opened a query into seat belt pretensioners on certain 2020-2022 Kia/Hyundai vehicles, saying that they may rupture or explode. A seat belt pretensioner is a part of the seat belt system that locks the seat belt in place during a crash. The ODI said […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Supporters of a proposal that would add South Carolina to a list of states calling for a U.S...
Associated Press

GOP spends big in state-level effort to change Constitution

DENVER (AP) — The fliers piled up in mailboxes in central South Dakota like snow during a high-plains blizzard: “Transgender Sex Education in Schools?” one asked. “Vote Against Sex Ed Radical Mary Duvall for State Senate.” The mailers were part of a $58,000 campaign against the five-term Republican lawmaker, an enormous sum of money in […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Former NFL players Ken Jenkins, right, and Clarence Vaughn III, center right, along with the...
Associated Press

More Black NFL retirees win dementia cases in rescored tests

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Hundreds of Black NFL retirees denied payouts in the $1 billion concussion settlement now qualify for awards after their tests were rescored to eliminate racial bias. Changes to the settlement made last year are meant to make the tests race-blind. The use of “race norming” in the dementia testing made it more […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

School district tries to fix bad Spanish translation

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — With voting already under way in Florida’s Aug. 23 election, officials in a county where about one in four voters are Hispanic are scrambling to fix a Spanish translation error that can’t help efforts to raise more money for education. The Broward school district — the nation’s sixth largest serving […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew