Oklahoma Gun Owners Could Soon Carry Firearms In Public
By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Concealed carry may soon give way to open carry in Oklahoma.
A law that would allow gun owners to carry firearms in public has passed the Senate and House, and is now awaiting the governor's signature.
House members voted overwhelmingly in favor of open carry, but some lawmakers still have problems with it.
The U.S. Shooting Academy specializes in training new gun owners. They teach conceal and carry classes, and if the governor signs the measure, will preparing those who wish to open carry.
"Certainly I'm a strong supporter of the second amendment and carrying guns in general," Mike Seeklander, U.S Shooting Academy, said. "From a training perspective though, we're wary of open carry."
Seeklander believes without proper training, open carry gun owners could become targets during dangerous situations.
"Someone that decides to carry openly with an exposed firearm is going to be identified right away by a bad guy who's going to harm them or do them harm, which means they need to respond to that threat quickly," Seeklander said.
State lawmakers argue the opposite. Those in favor of open carry say that criminals are far less likely to attack armed citizens.
The measure passed easily in the Senate and House, and if approved by the governor, would allow only people with concealed carry permits to display their guns in public.
"I really fail to see how open carry extends and creates a better policy for people that want to exercise their second amendment rights," Representative Dan Sullivan, Tulsa, said.
Representative Dan Sullivan, a concealed carry permit holder himself, voted no on the open carry bill. He says he's concerned about the potential effect on businesses.
"I can see people leaving if you allow people to come in and have open carry," Sullivan said. "I could see many patrons not wanting to go there."
Despite those objections, Oklahoma is on target to become the eleventh state to allow open carry in public. An estimated 97,000 Oklahomans with concealed carry permits would be eligible for open carry.
Governor Henry has yet to indicate whether or not he will sign the bill into law.