Oklahoma lawmaker's latest bills would lower age to carry guns, increase age to receive gender transition care

The Oklahoma lawmaker who introduced the bills is a self-described constitutionalist

An Oklahoma lawmaker introduced two bills in one week that would lower the age to purchase and carry guns and increase the required age for people to receive transgender health treatments. 

"You have, in the Constitution, specifically enumerated, your right to keep and bear arms," Republican state Rep. Jim Olsen told KTUL. "If you were to ask the Founding Fathers, ‘Where is it in the Constitution that you can get gender reassignment surgery?’ I think they’d have had a very puzzled look on their faces."

A self-described constitutionalist, Olsen proposed lowering the age to purchase firearms in the state to 18, while increasing the age for transgender healthcare to 21. 

People living in Oklahoma must be at least 21 years old to qualify for the state’s permitless carry law, unless the individual is currently serving in the armed forces or a military veteran. House Bill 1001 would allow Oklahoma residents as young as 18 years of age to purchase, to concealed carry and to open-carry firearms.

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Oklahoma State Rep. Jim Olsen's official headshot. 

Oklahoma State Rep. Jim Olsen's official headshot.  (OKHouse.gov)

"We need to realize that the great majority of mass shootings occur in a gun-free zone," Olsen said. "If you took away the gun-free zones, you occasionally would have somebody that wants to do something like that, but they would be quickly neutralized by somebody that’s legally carrying their weapon."

He added that 18-year-olds can serve in the military, and "carry weapons, and it usually turns out just fine."

Other experts, including the Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott, have argued that the U.S. could do away with gun-free zones to decrease mass shooting incidents. 

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"These gun-free zones actually serve as magnets for these killers to attack. Because they know they're going to be more successful in terms of killing," Lott previously told Fox News Digital. 

Damon Thueson shows a holster at a gun concealed carry permit class put on by "USA Firearms Training" on Dec. 19, 2015 in Provo, Utah.

Damon Thueson shows a holster at a gun concealed carry permit class put on by "USA Firearms Training" on Dec. 19, 2015 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

KTUL pointed to a Columbia University study published this year that found there were 62.5% fewer shootings in areas that do not permit guns. 

"It’s lowering it to allow 18-year-olds their appropriate constitutional rights," Olsen told the outlet.

"Being able to exercise Second Amendment rights is in keeping with the intention of the founders," Olsen told Fox News Digital later Monday morning in a phone interview. "Some of the founding fathers at the time of the Declaration of Independence were actually teenagers. At 18, you can exercise other constitutional rights: freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. You can decide you're not going to go to church or that you are going to go to church, all those can be exercised at 18." 

As for his transgender bill introduced last week, Olsen said its purpose is "to protect our children from genital mutilation."

"A lot of the people in the schools are telling me that it’s kind of the cool thing these days to be transgender," he said. 

"We have vulnerable young people who are being told by people that are either wicked, or confused, or a mixture of both, that this will fulfill them and make them happy," he continued. "And it won’t. And it’s causing a lot of harm."

The bill, House Bill 1011, would ban gender transition services, including puberty blockers, reassignment surgeries and hormone therapy, to people under the age of 21. 

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"There are some things that are so harmful that they need to be outlawed," Olsen told KTUL. "We need to prevent surgeons from harming people."

Olsen offered a contrast between his two bills, arguing that carrying a firearm at 18 is easy to undo if a person decides they are no longer comfortable with decision, while reversing gender transition services is nearly "impossible." 

"Let's say we decided we wanted to carry a weapon when we're 18," Olsen told Fox News Digital. "And then we do it and we decide, ‘You know I’m just not comfortable with this.' You can stop carrying the weapon. It's no big deal … But to undo the effects of the other is - usually it's impossible. Sometimes you can kind of partly get back, but it's hard to undo all of that."

Protestors in support of transgender rights rally outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Alabama, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Protestors in support of transgender rights rally outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Alabama, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

FLORIDA PROCEEDS WITH BAN ON PUBERTY BLOCKERS AND SEX REASSIGNMENT SURGERIES FOR MINORS

Recently in Florida, the state Board of Medicine and the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine voted to bar anyone under the age of 18 from receiving sex-reassignment surgery or taking hormones.

The move comes after the Florida Department of Health issued guidance in April rejecting the federal government’s guidance endorsing puberty blockers and "partially reversible" hormone therapy as methods of "affirming care" for minors. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo slammed the federal guidance as a political move that lacks evidence of assisting youths.  

The American Psychological Association, however, says that denying gender transition health care "puts individuals at a significant risk of harm," and among young people, they are "more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide."

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Both bills will be brought to the state’s House floor during the 2023 legislative session, which begins in February.