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Oklahoma's new open-carry law results in few enforcement issues

An Oklahoma City man was arrested after wearing a gun on his hip while casting a ballot Nov. 6. It may be the only arrest Oklahoma City police have made related to the state's new open-carry law, police said.
by Juliana Keeping Modified: December 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm •  Published: December 3, 2012

An Oklahoma City man who wore a gun on his hip while casting his ballot Election Day may be the only arrest Oklahoma City police have made related to the state's new open-carry law.

The law resulted in few enforcement issues in the month since it took effect Nov. 1, Capt. Dexter Nelson said. However, auto burglaries — a common way criminals acquire the weapons — are up, Nelson said.

Dispatchers have received calls regarding the law change, mostly from business owners who wanted information about signs stating guns aren't allowed inside, Nelson said.

Problem at the polls

While police aren't tracking arrests related to the law change, there has been at least one, Nelson said.

A poll worker at The Fountains of Canterbury retirement community at 1404 NW 122 became uneasy when she saw the man sporting a gun in a holster Nov. 6. She asked Ethan Sisson, 23, to put his gun in the car.

Sisson left but returned about two hours later wearing a cap pulled low and a jacket.

He cast his vote, removed his hat and jacket and revealed the pistol in its holster to the poll worker, according to a police incident report.

He made a comment about his constitutional rights before taking photos of election signs and leaving.

While the new law allows people with a state-issued permit to carry openly in public, guns still are banned from certain areas, including any place owned or leased by a city, state or federal government to conduct public business.

The Oklahoma County Election Board leased the room at the retirement community for election purposes, according to the police investigation.

Sisson told the poll worker he had spoken to both an attorney and an official with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to make sure it was OK to take the gun in, according to a police incident report. Sisson has a concealed-carry permit, according to OSBI.

Sisson was arrested Nov. 20 on a complaint of carrying a weapon into a public building.

He posted $4,000 bail at the Oklahoma County jail Nov. 21, a jail official said.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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