Oklahoma residents may start seeing a new trend, not a return to the old west. At first glance, people might not think it is a blast from Oklahoma history.
Citizens that have been issued a license with the Self-Defense Act will now have the option to carry handguns openly.
Local shooting instructor Dave King is quick to remind people that the change in the law is not a reason to ignore safety rules and the law.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement to remind citizens who plan to take advantage of Oklahoma’s open carry law to study the law and remain in compliance.
“Oklahoma will soon become one of 44 states that allow some kind of ‘open carry,’” Fallin said. “I believe the law is consistent with the spirit of the Second Amendment and that similar laws in other states have shown that open carry can be implemented safely and responsibly. However, it is important that citizens, especially those that plan to openly carry firearms, understand and follow the law.”
King, who runs Firestar Shooting, places a priority on personal responsibility partnered with the new law.
It is most important to know when it is appropriate to use your firearm, according to King.
“Personal responsibility with your firearm should always be the first thought,” King said. “Call the police first.”
Secondly, King cautioned, “Don’t be confrontational” and avoid trouble.
“If you know a fight is coming, leave,” King said.
The new law will present some challenges, according to King.
“It will be a while before people get used to being in an open carry society,” King said. “We haven’t been one in 100 years.”
Additionally, King is concerned that business owner that prohibits firearms will become “target rich environments” for criminals. King said he will not be carrying his firearm openly and many of the people he works with in law enforcement or firearm training have said the same.
“It is about the element of surprise,” King said.
Those carrying firearms, either openly or concealed, must have both their handgun license and a valid government ID on their person at all times, according to Fallin’s release. Existing licenses that say concealed carry will be valid for open carry until the expiration date listed on the individual’s card, according to King. Current license owners are not required to get a new card as long as it is still valid, he added.