Leaders Consider Voluntary State Guardhttp://www.ksbitv.com/news/90881984.html
Story Created: Apr 14, 2010 at 5:13 PM CDT
Story Updated: Apr 14, 2010 at 6:03 PM CDT
The conversation continues about starting a voluntary state militia to protect the rights of Oklahomans. Lawmakers and tea party leaders may take it seriously enough to push for legislation next year.
A Tulsa based tea party is behind the effort to bring back the Oklahoma State Guard.
"We need the guard back and I understand why they're calling for it," said, Al Gerhart, the founder of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance & Sooner Tea Party.
Gerhart says OKforTea wants the voluntary state guard because it will help with disasters like blizzards and tornadoes, as the Oklahoma National Guard continues to leave the state to head overseas.
"We had no trucks they were all sent overseas, we had no men to operate the trucks because they were stretched so thin," Gerhart explained as he spoke of Oklahoma's Christmas Eve blizzard.
Representatives say the state militia is in the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, which allows individuals the right to bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.
Rep. Charles Key of District 90 said, "The Federal Government has violated the constitution and it's specific delegated power so much, we have a crisis in this country."
Officials say a serious discussion needs to begin, and possibly write up legislation for a state-authorized militia next session.
"The Constitution either means what it says or doesn't mean anything at all, you can't have it both ways," Rep. Key describes. "You can't say that we have a constitutional form of government, we have natural rights from god not from the government, and then say the government can pick and choose which ones they follow and redefine it as time goes on."
Opponents worry that this could lead to people radical actions by others. Supporters say they oppose private militia's, and this is not an effort to stop the Federal Government from coming into the state of Oklahoma.
"But if you have 40-50 states with a strong state militia, you got a difference all the sudden they've got to pay attention and can't just run rough shot on you," Gerhart added.
Lawmakers also hope it could bolster state sovereignty issues, while opponents say the state already has a the National Guard so it is unnecessary.