Oklahoma will become the 25th state to allow the open carrying of handguns.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law Tuesday a measure that allows Oklahomans to openly carry handguns.
The measure, Senate Bill 1733, allows those who are licensed to carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act a choice: to openly carry a weapon or conceal it.
It also allows a property owner to openly carry a handgun on his or her land. No concealed carry permit would be required.
To receive a license under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act, applicants must take a firearms safety and training course and submit to a background check by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors may not receive a handgun license.
The measure takes effect Nov. 1.
Oklahoma is the 25th state with either “permissive open carry” laws, which means no permit required, or “licensed open carry,” which requires a permit. Oklahoma now joins Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Massachusetts as a “licensed open carry” state.
“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a gun owner myself, I'm happy to sign this bill into law and grant law-abiding citizens the ability to openly carry firearms,” Fallin said.
“Senate Bill 1733 sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property. It does so in a responsible way, by requiring those citizens who choose to ‘open carry' to undergo both firearms training and a background check.”
Under the measure, businesses may continue to prohibit firearms to be carried on their premises. SB 1733 prohibits carrying firearms on properties owned or leased by the city, state or federal government, at corrections facilities, in schools or college campuses and at sports arenas during sporting events.
The measure won strong support from the Legislature. The House of Representatives passed it 85-3 and it passed the Senate 33-10.
Rep. Emily Virgin, one of three House Democrats to vote against SB 1733, said the state's concealed-carry system works well. Virgin, D-Norman, said local law enforcement officers have told her they are concerned about public safety.
“They've expressed concerns about approaching a crime scene where multiple people are carrying guns openly and they're not sure who is the shooter or who is the quote-unquote bad guy,” she said.
Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, author of SB 1733, said the measure contains safeguards.
“I'm happy to say that Oklahomans will be able to display their firearms openly if they so choose,” he said.