Friday, April 17, 2009

Gumm Continues Effort to Close Sex Offender Loophole

Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
State Capitol Room 535A
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5586


Sen. Jay Paul Gumm on Thursday successfully amended House Bill 1025 to include language closing a loophole that would allow sex offenders to use ice cream trucks to come into contact with children. Gumm previously authored Senate Bill 1147 to criminalize the operation of an ice cream truck by a sex offender, but the legislation has stalled in the House of Representatives.

The proposal would require vendors to obtain and display an operating permit through the State Department of Health. Gumm said he would use every legislative tool at his disposal to ensure the Legislature takes action on the issue.

“The fact that convicted sex offenders can use ice cream trucks to come into close contact with children represents a significant flaw in our sex offender laws,” said Gumm, D-Durant. “I’m disappointed that the House has yet to act on this issue, particularly after we’ve seen this same loophole become a major problem in other states. We should not wait until a tragedy occurs.”

Gumm said the measure was drafted in response to a number of high profile cases throughout the country. Similar legislation has been approved by state legislatures in Tennessee and California.

The bill would establish a penalty of up to two and a half years in prison for sex offenders who engage in ice cream truck vending. Additionally, the measure would establish a $500 fine for operating an ice cream truck without displaying the appropriate vending permit.

“We need to consider every potential safeguard to protect our children from sexual predators,” Gumm said. “With vendors having such easy access to children, we can’t be too careful. I’ll continue fighting to ensure that precautions are in place.”

The measure will now return to the House for final consideration.

For more information contact: Sen. Gumm's Office: 405-521-5586

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