Oklahoma law enforcement prepares for open-carry law

Officials from several Oklahoma law enforcement agencies said they are reviewing whether they need to update officer training after Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill this week that will allow those with permits to carry firearms openly.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: May 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm •  Published: May 16, 2012
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Law enforcement officials said Wednesday they are glad they have months to prepare for the open-carry legislation signed by Gov. Mary Fallin this week, and at least one metro-area police force will check for permits any time officers see someone openly carrying.

The law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, will allow those with permits to carry firearms under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act to choose whether to conceal their weapons or carry them openly. The law previously required permit holders to conceal their firearms.

Officials from several state law enforcement agencies said Wednesday they aren't sure how they will handle the new law.

“We're reviewing the statute and researching the law and will brief and train our troopers about the law after this process is completed,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said.

Oklahoma City police will take a similar approach, Master Sgt. Gary Knight said. He said department officials are reviewing the law to see if any change in training is needed on how to approach a crime scene.

“Officers are always trained to watch people's hands. That's always where a weapon will be,” Knight said. “Whether this is going to cause any more issues with this remains to be seen.”

Police also will have to determine how to handle calls from the public when someone is spotted carrying a firearm.

Midwest City police will check for permits when they encounter someone openly carrying a gun, Assistant Chief Sid Porter said.

“When public safety comes up, that is No. 1,” Porter said. “If we see someone carrying a weapon in a holster, they have to have a permit on them and would be asked to show it. Anybody with a weapon on their side is considered a suspicious person.”

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