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Authorities Answer Questions About Oklahoma's New Open Carry Law

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Beginning Thursday, Oklahoma gun owners with handgun licenses will be allowed to openly carry their firearms.

On the eve of the new law taking effect, Governor Mary Fallin and law enforcement agencies have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers:

1. How are "concealed" and "unconcealed" carry defined?

Answer: The terms are defined in Section 1290.2 of Title 21 as follows:

"Concealed handgun" means a loaded or unloaded pistol carried hidden from the detection and view of another person either upon or about the person, in a purse or other container belonging to the person, or in a vehicle which is operated by the person or in which the person is riding as a passenger.

"Unconcealed handgun" means a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a belt or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case designed for carrying firearms where the scabbard or case is wholly or partially visible.

2. What is required for me to legally carry a handgun on my person?

Answer: Carrying any weapon, including firearms, is prohibited by law pursuant to Section 1272 of Title 21, with exceptions. Some of those exceptions include:

  • Any person issued a handgun license under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act may carry a firearm concealed or unconcealed in Oklahoma starting November 1, 2012.
  • Any person issued a handgun license from any other state may carry a handgun while visiting Oklahoma starting November 1, 2012.
  • Any business owner or person in control of a business may carry a firearm openly or concealed while on their business property.
  • Any person, while on private property that is under their control, may carry a firearm concealed or unconcealed.

3. What kind of firearm may I carry with a handgun license?

Answer: The handgun license will state the type of pistol the license holder is authorized to carry; derringer, revolver, or semi-automatic handgun. In addition, the pistol may not be larger than .45 caliber and it may not be more than 16 inches in length.

4. What happens to my concealed carry firearms license starting November 1, 2012?

Answer: All concealed carry firearms licenses will automatically become handgun licenses on November 1, 2012, and will remain in effect until they expired.

5. May I transport a firearm in my motor vehicle?

Answer: Under Oklahoma law, the general rule is that any person, except a convicted felon, may transport in a motor vehicle a firearm open and unloaded at any time. "Open" means the gun is in plain view or in a case designed for carrying firearms provided the case is wholly or partially visible.

A person with a handgun license may carry a loaded pistol concealed in a motor vehicle. A handgun licensee may also carry a rifle or shotgun in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, as long as there is no ammunition in the chamber of the rifle or shotgun.

6. What should I do if I encounter a law enforcement officer while carrying a gun?

Answer: State law requires any person who is carrying a handgun pursuant to a handgun license to immediately notify a law enforcement officer that he/she is carrying a firearm when the licensee comes into contact with the officer during any arrest, detainment or routine traffic stop.

In addition, during any contact with police a law enforcement officer may demand that a person carrying a handgun produce his/her handgun license. Under Oklahoma law, the person carrying the handgun is required to show his/her handgun license to a law enforcement officer upon demand.

7. What should I do if I disagree with the action taken by a police officer in regards to my gun rights?

Answer: Do what the officer tells you to do and ask to speak to his/her supervisor. Do not be confrontational with the officer.

8. Where are people with a handgun license prohibited from carrying a handgun?

Answer: As a general rule, carrying a weapon is prohibited in the following places:

• Any business that displays any type of sign prohibiting firearms (See question #9 below).

• All City, State, and Federal buildings.

• All elementary and secondary school properties.

• On a school bus.

• Any establishment where beer and alcohol is consumed if the sale of beer or alcohol constitutes the establishment's primary source of income.

• Any place where pari-mutual wagering is authorized.

• A sports arena during any professional sporting event.

• A meeting of almost any governmental entity or legislative member.

• Any jail, prison, or detention facility.

• Any structure, building, or office space owned or leased by a city, state or

federal government for the purpose of conducting business with the public.

• In a courthouse.

• Any other place specifically prohibited by law.

9. Do business owners/operators need to post "No Firearms" signs to prohibit guns inside their business?

Answer: No. Oklahoma law allows private property owners to prohibit a person with a handgun license from carrying a handgun into their business. Posting the business with "NO firearms" signs is a convenient means of telling the public the owner/operator does not want firearms inside his/her business. However, the law does not require the business owner to post signs. The owner may tell people verbally that handguns are prohibited.  

10. What is reciprocity?

Answer: Oklahoma recognizes or honors concealed carry licenses issued by other states.  Senate Bill 1733 expands current law, starting November 1, 2012, Oklahoma will also recognize open carry licenses.

11. Can I carry a concealed handgun without a license?

Answer: Starting November 1, 2012, the state of Oklahoma will allow you to carry a concealed handgun without a license only if you are allowed to do so in your own state.

12. What are the non-permitting carry states?

Answer: The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety maintains an update to date list. Currently, those states are Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming.

13. Where can I get a handgun license application?

Answer: You can find the application on Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's web site or at your local county sheriff's office.

9/27/2012 Related Story: Open Carry Group Hopes To Educate Oklahomans About New Law

Disclaimer:

This information is intended to serve as a guide for the recent changes in Oklahoma's gun laws.  This information does not constitute legal advice and is informational only.

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