Starting Thursday, gun owners with a permit can carry loaded firearms openly in public for the first time since before Oklahoma became a state.
In general, Senate Bill 1733, signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin in May, amends the state’s concealed weapons laws by removing the word “concealed.”
The law amendments also recognize the right of permitted gun carriers to carry handguns openly on their private property and allow people with permits issued in other states to carry their weapons in public here.
Here are some frequently asked questions pertaining to the new law, as provided by the Oklahoma City Police Department:
Q. What’s the difference between concealed carry and open carry?
“Concealed” means a loaded or unloaded pistol is hidden from the detection and view of another person, either stowed in a purse or other container, or carried in a holster underneath a jacket, or even in a vehicle. “Open” or “unconcealed” means the weapon is partially or wholly visible to others, albeit in a belt or shoulder holster, a scabbard or case for carrying firearms.
Q. What are the requirements to legally carry a weapon openly under the new law?
In general, carrying a weapon, loaded or unloaded, is prohibited in Oklahoma. But under the new legislation, an exception is made for people with a state-issued handgun license. Business owners and private property owners also may carry their firearms openly on their property under the new law.
Q. What kind of firearms can be carried openly under the new law?
The state-issued permit will detail the type of pistol its holder is authorized to carry, but typically the law allows for the open carry of derringers, revolvers and semi-automatic handguns.
The pistol must have a barrel no larger than .45-caliber and must be less than 16 inches long.
Q. What happens to concealed carry permits issued before today?
All concealed carry permits are automatically “carry permits” now, and will remain in effect until they expire.
Q. Can a permit holder carry their firearms in a vehicle?
Any person, except a felon, can carry an unloaded firearm openly in their vehicle at any time. A carry permit holder may carry a loaded firearm in their vehicle.
Q. What are the requirements for when a gun carrier comes into contact with a law enforcement officer?
The law requires any person carrying a handgun to immediately notify a law enforcement officer that he is carrying a firearm when he comes into contact with the officer during any arrest, detainment or routine traffic stop. Additionally, a law enforcement officer may demand that a person carrying a handgun produce his permit. The law requires a gun carrier to show his permit to police upon demand.
Oklahoma City police said a gun carrier who disagrees with the actions of a law enforcement officer should not confront the officer, but should instead comply and ask to speak with a supervisor.
Q. What are the prohibited places for carrying a handgun?
Carrying a weapon openly or concealed is not allowed in:
• Any business that displays a sign prohibiting firearms.
• All city, state and federal buildings.
• All elementary and secondary school properties and on school buses.
• An establishment where alcohol is consumed if the sale of alcohol constitutes the establishment’s primary source of income.
• Any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized.
• Any sports arena during a professional sporting event.
• A meeting of almost any governmental entity or legislative body; any jail, prison or detention facility.
• Any place owned or leased by a city, state or federal government for the purpose of conducting public business.
• Any courthouse.
• Colleges, universities and technology centers, except where authorized.
• Any other place specifically prohibited by law.
Q. Do business owners need to post a “No Firearms” sign to prohibit guns inside their business?
Oklahoma law allows private property owners to prohibit a person with a handgun license from carrying a handgun into their business, sign or not.
A sign is a convenient way of telling the public firearms are not allowed, but the law allows for business owners to share their policy verbally.
Q. How does a person gain a permit to carry a firearm in Oklahoma?
Any established resident who is a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old and who has completed a firearms safety and training course can apply for a permit through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The bureau will review the application, conduct criminal and mental health background checks, and will approve or deny the permit within 60 days if no prohibitive records are revealed.
The cost is $100 for a five-year permit or $200 for 10 years, and the cost also can include up to $100 in processing fees.
Go to www.ok.gov/osbi for more information or an application.