Last week the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill (S.B. 1733) that would allow Oklahomans  with a valid concealed weapons permit the option of carrying their firearms either concealed or openly, holstered in public. Governor Mary Fallin (R) is expected to sign the new bill into law by this Thursday (05-17-12).In the past and even more recently Governor Fallin has said she supports "responsible open carry legislation". After obtaining the Governor's signature the new law will take effect on (11-01-12)

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of (33-10) and earlier last month was voted and passed by the House of Representatives (85-3) This past Saturday (05-12-12) Governor Mary Fallin addressed delegates at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention and said she will sign the new open carry bill into law. “We believe it's a responsible piece of legislation that allows licensed gun owners to be able to open carry if they choose. If they choose not to, they don't have to. It also has sufficient protections in it that will allow businesses, certainly government institutions, and those who don't want guns on their facilities to have those protections, too.” Governor Fallin said.

If this topic sounds all to familiar it is. Back in 2010 a similar bill the 'Open Carry Law' House Bill 3354 made it through the entire legislative process only to be vetoed by then Governor Brad Henry (D) who opposed the law despite the backing and overwhelming support of state legislators and citizens.

Some people may be alarmed or shocked by the ideal of open carry, thinking it to be some new and dangerous concept. The reality is Oklahoma is only one of seven states that forbids open carry. Currently there are forty four states that permit some form of open carry, most without permits and eleven states that allow open carry with a permit. So this isn't some new idea, in fact most states that have open carry legislation have lower crime rates and report that armed lawful citizens have had a positive impact.

I support the new bill and open carry, however I personally will continue carrying concealed. I prefer concealed over open carry especially in public, it yields a better tactical advantage. Having said that I also see the merits of open carry as it relates to possible crime deterrent. I do like having the option though, I think about the only time I'll openly carry a firearm is when I'm enjoying outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.

At this time Oklahoma law permits the use of firearms while engaging  in these activities but the law is rather vague and open to interpretation. This will certainly clear a lot of that up.

I would strongly suggest if you're considering open carry as an option the use of a retention holster to insure the security of your firearm at all times. Most concealment holsters aren't well suited for open carry so keep that in mind. You don't want easy access to your gun by others, or the possibility of it coming out of the holster unintentionally. As always remember SAFETY FIRST!