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Handgun licensees surpass 140,000 in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, there are more than 140,000 residents who are licensed to carry firearms on their person.
by Andrew Knittle Published: January 27, 2013

“Every time something happens — the shooting in Colorado, the election, the shootings in Connecticut — we see people start to come in,” she said. “It seems like they're afraid they might not be able to get their license when stuff like this happens.”

Latonia McDaniel, who works at a local specialty hospital, said she was getting her handgun license for personal protection. The response is near universal when gun owners are getting their handgun licenses.

“I want to be able to protect myself, as a woman, and my kids,” McDaniel said. “Plus, I grew up around guns, and I know how to use them. It's the next step.”

Like McDaniel, many of those attending the class Wednesday evening were women.

“It's good to see so many women here tonight. … I think there are as many of us as there are men. It's our right, too,” said one woman, who did not want to be identified.

Students are required to load and fire 50 shots at a target that appeared to be roughly 15 feet away.

Licensees to be shielded

In Oklahoma, the identity of those licensed to carry handguns is protected by the OSBI.

Jessica Brown, the bureau's spokeswoman, said the only information made public about handgun licensees is their age, gender and the county they reside in.

Brown said names, dates of birth and other identifying data belonging to Oklahomans with handgun licenses are not considered open records.

In other states, that isn't always the case.

Shortly after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a newspaper in New York published an online, interactive map showing the addresses of gun owners in two counties.

The map, which was viewed more than 1.2 million times before it was taken down, was created using data gleaned from public records.

The New York newspaper's staff reportedly received death threats after the map was posted online.