Lawmaker Wants Oklahoma's "Stand Your Ground" Law to Cover Places of Worship

Feb 14, 2018

Credit Clifton Adcock/Oklahoma Watch

An Oklahoma House committee signed off Wednesday on a proposed expansion of the state’s "stand your ground" law.

House Bill 2632 by Rep. Greg Babinec would add places of worship to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act as locations where killing someone in self-defense cannot be prosecuted. Rep. David Perryman said by not defining what a place of worship is, the bill is a backdoor attempt at constitutional carry.

"Because anywhere a person uses that use of force, they can say, 'Well, this is what I was doing at the time, and it makes it a place of worship. So, therefore, I’m exempt from the law,' and the district attorney could never get a conviction," Perryman said.

Rep. Cory Williams warned Babinec if he didn't define what a place of worship is, someone else will have to later.

"We all have heard the rhetoric about our liberal, activist judges making the law. We are actually the ones charged with making the law," Williams said. "They’re charged with interpreting it. They can’t interpret it if we don’t define it. In the absence of a definition, they will insert one for us."

Babinec took offense to an assertion that not including a definition in HB2632 was laziness.

"It’s not laziness that I didn’t write it in the bill. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I wrote it in the bill, then I took it out because I thought to myself, ‘Who am I to define where you pray?’ You pray where you want to pray. You pray with the people you want to pray with, and you do it where you want," Babinec said.

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee 13–6, with one Republican voting against it.