The Edmond Sun

October 31, 2012

Gov. reminds gun-totin' citizens about new law

OSBI: 141,000-plus Oklahomans allowed to open carry

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — A common question at Heartland Outdoors, an Edmond gun retailer, has been whether or not folks who conceal carry will open carry once the new state law takes effect.

Clay Hoover, a salesman, buyer and instructor for Heartland Outdoors, 1444 N. Kelly Avenue, said he suspects most license holders will opt to continue to conceal carry.

“They don’t want to give up the advantage,” he said.

Hoover said in advance of the new law, which takes effect Nov. 1 ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential election, the store has experienced an increase in sales. The recent gun of choice is the 9x19-caliber Glock 19, Hoover said. Many Oklahomans who choose to open carry will likely use a hip holster rather than a more awkward shoulder holster, he said.

On May 15, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed SB 1733 into law. Starting Nov. 1, a handgun license authorizes a person to carry concealed or unconcealed. Under the law, open carry refers to an unconcealed handgun loaded or unloaded carried in a belt or shoulder holster wholly or partially visible.

Previously, license holders were only able to carry concealed weapons.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said more than 141,000 Oklahomans are active Oklahoma Self-Defense Act license holders. Oklahomans apply for licenses through the OSBI.

On Wednesday, Fallin reminded citizens who plan to take advantage of the open carry law to study the law and remain in compliance. Oklahoma becomes one of 44 states that allow some kind of open carry, Fallin said.

“I believe the law is consistent with the spirit of the Second Amendment and that similar laws in other states have shown that open carry can be implemented safely and responsibly,” Fallin said. However, it is important that citizens, especially those that plan to openly carry firearms, understand and follow the law.”

Individuals carrying firearms, either openly or concealed, must have both their handgun license and a valid government ID at all times, Fallin said. Any privately owned business may prohibit open carry or concealed carry on their property, she said.

These prohibitions must be respected, in addition to the prohibitions on open carry at schools, universities and career technology centers, prisons, in bars, at sporting events or on government property, Fallin said.

If a license holder carrying a weapon is stopped by a law enforcement officer they must immediately tell the officer they are armed, Fallin said.

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said the agency has held several training sessions this week to go over the law and what it means for Edmond officers.

“We are not overly concerned about potential issues, but like any new law or change to a law it takes some time for the public to get acclimated, especially something that involves weapons,” Monroe said.

The EPD anticipates seeing a spike in the number of calls regarding an armed person being seen around town, Monroe said. Each call will be handled according to the law, she said.

Answers to other frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s open carry law include:

• Applicants must submit an application in person to their county sheriff’s office, undergo an OSBI background check, complete an eight-hour firearms safety and training course, demonstrate competence with the type of pistol they intend to carry and pay an application fee;

• Applications take about 100 days if the background check reveals no records pertaining to the applicant;

• Conceal carry license holders do not need to reapply for an open carry license; license holders must be an Oklahoma resident at least age 21;

• Only .45 caliber or smaller handguns less than 16 inches in length may be openly carried;

• A license holder cannot hold a handgun in their hand;

• Oklahoma residents can carry loaded or unloaded shotguns, rifles or handguns openly and without a handgun license if they are hunting animals or fowl, competing or practicing in a safety or hunter safety class, target shooting skeet, trap or other recognized sporting events, participating in military or police functions, during a practice or a performance for entertainment purposes or for any legitimate purpose not in violation of the Oklahoma Firearms Act; and

• SB 1733 allows Oklahoma residents to carry openly and without a handgun license for self-defense in or on property that you own, lease or rent.

Places or events where you cannot openly carry:

• Private businesses, organizations or residences that prohibit open carry   

• Buildings, structures or office space owned or leased by governmental entities

• Meetings of any city, county, town, state or federal officials  

• Meetings of school board members or legislative members

• Meetings of other elected or appointed officials

• Any prison, jail or detention facility  

• Any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized  

• Sporting arenas during a professional sporting event  

• Establishments whose primary purpose is to dispense alcoholic beverages  

• Colleges, universities or technology centers

• Public and private schools  

• Any other place specifically prohibited by law

Source: Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108