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Gun Advocates Debate Language Of Proposed Open-Carry Law

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A proposed Open Carry gun law making its way through the state legislature has sparked debate among supporters of the idea. A proposed Open Carry gun law making its way through the state legislature has sparked debate among supporters of the idea.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A proposed Open Carry gun law making its way through the state legislature has sparked debate among supporters of the idea. Gun rights advocates agree there should be open carry, but they disagree over measures in the current bill.

Oklahoma lawmakers are currently debating the law and legal experts are watching the developments closely.

Professor Mike O'Shea says the main issue now is whether or not the law will require an open carry permit.

"A permit-based bill, House Bill 2522 sponsored by Representative Martin had cleared the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin," said O'Shea.

But that's when things took a twist on Thursday when the state senate's public safety committee replaced the bill with a non-permit based bill that would only require a training course.

"It's a pretty short bill that simply says individuals, without needing a self-defense act license, may open-carry a handgun if they've gone through the instructional program," said O'Shea.

And O'Shea thinks there are some key parts that are missing from the bill.

"It doesn't have any language about preempting municipal disorderly misconduct ordinances, which have been used I think abusively in other states, to harass lawful open carriers," said O'Shea. "It doesn't have the language setting the rules of the road for interactions between law enforcement and open carriers."

O'Shea predicts a sticking point because of overwhelming support for a permit-based law, where OSBI can keep track of whose hands guns are in.

3/30/2012 Related Story: Open Carry Gun Law Raises Concerns In Oklahoma

"OSBI publishes a very detailed useful report every year and it has a lot of information about suspensions, revocations, how many permits were issued, so we know this is a rather law-abiding body of citizens and that's, I think, really how the debate shapes up."

Oklahoma is currently one of only a small group of states that doesn't allow any form of open-carry. O'Shea expects a permit-based bill to pass.

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