OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (AP) -- People with specialized firearms training, such as military personnel, would be allowed to carry concealed weapons on Oklahoma's college campuses, under a bill that passed the state's House Thursday.
The measure was approved 65-36, despite opponents who said it made no sense following shootings at schools across the country.
It now heads to the state Senate for a vote.
Introduced by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, the law would authorize active-duty military and National Guard and reserve personnel, honorably discharged veterans and others with firearms training certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education who hold a state concealed weapons license to carry guns on college and university campuses.
The legislation is more narrow than Murphey's original proposal, which would have allowed anyone at least 21 years old with concealed handgun carrying rights to carry weapons on campus. That version was similar to a Utah law.
"This has to be the craziest thing I have ever seen," said Rep. Ray McCarter, D-Marlow, one of several lawmakers who said the measure is opposed by college administrators.
Supporters argued that the measure would make college campuses safer by putting guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Rep. Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, said someone with a concealed weapon might be the only person in a classroom who can protect himself and others from an attacking gunman.
"When seconds matter the police are just minutes away," said Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs.
House members also approved a measure that lowers the age to 18 from 21 of active-duty military, National Guard and reserve personnel as well as veterans who can be licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Murphey said his bill was a "commonsense step" to expand Oklahoma's concealed weapons law to combat campus violence.
"The concealed carry law is about 12 years old. It's worked out very well," Murphey said. He said more than 60,000 Oklahomans are licensed to carry concealed weapons, and there has been no widespread gun violence in the state, which opponents had warned of.
Murphey's bill would require people authorized to carry a concealed handgun to provide written notice to the university or college president before bringing a gun on campus. It would not limit a university's ability to restrict concealed weapons from access-controlled areas where people are subject to security checks.