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Oklahoma City gun owners exercise their new rights

Over sodas and early morning fare, gun activists come packing to discuss self-defense and constitutional rights.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: November 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm •  Published: November 1, 2012

/articleid/3724412/1/pictures/1872244">Photo - Matthew Street, left, of Edmond, talks gun politics with James Choate of Yukon. The two were among about 25 men and women who showed up at Beverly's Pancake House at midnight Thursday to celebrate the state's new open carry law. <strong>By Zeke Campfield - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Matthew Street, left, of Edmond, talks gun politics with James Choate of Yukon. The two were among about 25 men and women who showed up at Beverly's Pancake House at midnight Thursday to celebrate the state's new open carry law. By Zeke Campfield - THE OKLAHOMAN

“It can be very unnerving,” said Darla Koone of Oklahoma City, who sat several booths down from the open carriers at Beverly’s on Thursday. “The law doesn’t really keep guns out of the hands of people with problems.”

Across the table, her friend Sarah Musick, also of Oklahoma City, disagreed.

“As long as checks are in place and the system’s actually working, and as long as they’re using them appropriately, I do feel safer,” Musick said.

Some business owners in Oklahoma have said they will bar their customers from carrying guns openly inside, but others have said they don’t have a problem with it.

Others — like Bruce Harroz, owner of Crest Foods — said they will make a decision after they see how their customers respond to visible guns inside.

Harroz said Crest backed off its no-guns policy several months ago after his voice mail and email were inundated with angry messages from gun rights advocates who threatened to boycott. Now he’s hearing from anti-gun shoppers, particularly women with small children who want to shop without worry of violence.

“We’re looking toward no weapons allowed, but we haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet,” Harroz said. “You can’t please everybody any way you go, and we’ve got both kinds of customers shopping with us.”

Even the owner of Beverly’s said she is not quite sure how she feels about guns in the restaurant.

Renee Masoudy said Hull and other organizers of Thursday’s open carry event are regular customers at Beverly’s. But a stranger with a handgun might not settle so easy with her cooks and wait staff.

“What it is that scares me is Fridays, Saturdays, the bar crowd — people come sometimes drunk,” Masoudy said. “We’ve been through a lot of things, and I don’t know if for the sake of my employees’ safety that I want to allow it.”

Law enforcement officials in Oklahoma have also expressed concern over the law, but said they are already working to train officers and 911 dispatchers to adjust to it.


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