The vote that I cast yesterday on HB 2597 was based on honest, thoughtful conversations with constituents and community leaders in House District 62. I spoke with individuals from all walks of life: Republicans and Democrats, business owners and firearm owners, law enforcement and city government officials. This was a challenging decision to make, and that’s why I wanted to listen to as many Lawtonians as possible.
I do support the Second Amendment, and I do trust law-abiding firearm owners. It was because that so many of these individuals - who have generational connections with firearms; who understand that these firearms are used for self-defense, hunting, and recreation - reached out to me with serious concerns about this legislation that I couldn’t just ignore them. Not listening to them would’ve meant breaking my commitment to promote Lawtonian interests, not special interests.
Of course, I know that there are those of you who did support HB 2597, and I respect your opinion and position. One justification that proponents of this bill emphasized was how individuals from low socioeconomic households couldn’t pay for both the training and license requirements. On the other hand, opponents of this bill were concerned that individuals wouldn’t know the basics of operating a firearm nor understand how to handle high-stress situations. I believe that SB 345 addresses these concerns because it ensures that individuals go through a training course for carrying a firearm, but they don’t need to go through another process to attain a license. Instead, they receive a certificate of training at the end of the course that will serve as their license. That’s why I decided to be a co-author on this legislation.
At the end of the day, I’m going to do my best to serve with dignity to fight for the Lawtonians of House District 62 as long as I can, but at the same time, I won’t sacrifice my integrity to preserve my political power. That’s what’s wrong with our modern politics.
One day, when I have a wife and children, I want to be able to tell them that I always governed based on what was best for my district, not my party. Lawton is my home. Because we’re a diverse community, I must take into consideration all of the political, socioeconomic, and racial differences that when put together, make me Lawton Proud.
I won’t be intimidated, bullied, or harassed by any individual or organization to vote a certain way because the Lawtonians who sent me to the State Capitol are who I’m focused on advocating for each and every day. And they believe in a high standard of leadership.
The Lawtonians who sent me to the Capitol include family, neighbors, and friends who want more common sense from their elected officials.
The Lawtonians who sent me to the Capitol believe in a government in which their representatives and senators cast votes based on good policy, not good politics.
I anticipate that the mean-spirited pontification regarding the political consequences of my colleagues and I who voted no on HB 2597 shall take up most of the upcoming news cycle. I’m comforted knowing that Scripture tells us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Indeed, I’m going to get a good night’s rest, and when I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to continue fighting for the Lawtonians in House District 62.