at Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are the only major professional team in the state of Oklahoma, and it is using that power to stand up to a pair of bills currently before the Oklahoma state senate regarding the rights of gun owners.

While a professional team taking a very public stance on a controversial issue like gun rights bills is a bold step, the Thunder aren’t alone. Instead, they were a part of more than two dozen different groups including other private businesses, law enforcement and colleges and universities speaking out against the two bills.

They sent a letter to the Senate President Pro Tempore, Brian Bingman, asking him to stop the bills until some concerns were ironed out by those in the letter.

The letter expressed concern that the measures could jeopardize existing gun bans by private businesses, at public colleges and universities, and at public events hosted at public parks or fairgrounds.

“Until these issues can be addressed, we ask that these measures not move forward in the Senate,” the letter states.

For the Thunder, its issue is a huge one, as the bills would allow most Oklahoma adults to openly carry without a background check or firearms training. It would also allow that to happen in any setting in the state, effectively ripping up bans in places like the arena where the Thunder play and college campuses too.

As the proposed bills read, any legal citizen over the age of 21 without a felony conviction would be allowed to open-carry a firearm without a license, training or a background check. Concealed carry would still require the need for a license.

It’s a controversial measure, but it is also the law in other states like Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri.

For the Thunder, this bill could have some very unintended consequences — like the league refusing to allow games played in that kind of environment. Currently, there isn’t an NBA arena in which guns are openly allowed in the building outside of law enforcement.

The NBA has also taken a stand against gun violence with its own anti-gun PSA debuting this past December.

These two bills would put the issue before the citizens of Oklahoma on the November ballot and would make an amendment to the state constitution if passed by the people.

However, it has to get through the senate first and that’s where these groups are hoping to stop the bills until the issue can be further clarified.


About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!