State Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha, attended a ceremonial bill signing with the governor Thursday for legislation that protects the pension benefits of officers disabled as a result of a violent act while on duty.
The Sergeant Schoolfield Line of Duty Act (House Bill 3330) guaranteed that qualifying officers would receive 100 percent of their pensions benefits instead of a modified percentage.
“As my legislative career comes to a close, getting this legislation passed was one of the highlights of my time in the House,” Perryman said. “This bill didn’t just provide pension benefits to officers who are disabled. It also provided financial security to the officers that serve our communities daily.”
When Perryman first heard the story of former Chickasha Police Officer Matthew Schoolfield he couldn’t believe the state’s pension system’s rules were so ruthless to officers who were injured while on duty.
“I was shocked, frankly,” Perryman said. “This issue is compounded by having a group of lawmakers in the Legislature hellbent on pushing legislation to increase the number of situations our officers respond to where a gun is involved.
“There is a certain irony in the fact that during the same session Governor Stitt signed House Bill 3330 to provide increased pension benefits to officers injured by people who have no business possessing a firearm, he also signed Senate Bill 1081, which makes it more difficult for courts to limit possession of firearms by unstable individuals, even when their friends, families, and neighbors attempt to intercede in pursuit of safety.”
A 2013 National Institution of Health study titled The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010 showed that with each percentage point increase of gun ownership, homicides increased by .9%.
Additionally, a 2015 study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine titled Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime in the U.S. showed that a higher level of firearm ownership equated to a higher amount of firearm assaults and firearm robberies. The study showed that these trends maintained across all economic groups.
“I’m all for responsible gun ownership,” Perryman said, “but that word ‘responsible’ has to mean something. By not having any criteria for ownership - like an effective firearms safety class - the Legislature has increased the likelihood that a police officer will encounter both a gun and an irresponsible gun owner. There is nothing pro-law enforcement about making their job more dangerous.”