Oklahoma Open Carry Bill(s) Heading to The Governor’s Office! [POLL]
Two bills are currently moving through the Oklahoma House and Senate that would allow Oklahoma concealed carry permit holders the option of carrying their firearms either concealed, or in the open. If this topic sounds 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.
The current bills in place that would allow open carry are House Bill 2522 by state Representative Steve Martin (R-10) and Senate Bill 1733 by Senator Anthony Sykes (R) Moore. The first bill HB 2522 has the support of the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee who voted (13-2) in favor of the bill which moved it to the full House who then voted (85-9) Now HB 2522 heads to the Senate. The second bill SB 1733 was approved by the Senate (34-9) and will now head to the House. Both bills are active, working through the process on their way to the Governor's desk.
I've had the privilege, and the honor of speaking to Governor Mary Fallen (R) in the past, prior to her election. I asked her directly about the "Open Carry Law" which at the time was vetoed down by Gov. Brad Henry and wanted to know if she would sign it. She answered YES and spoke clearly about her support of the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans and all Americans. Gov. Mary Fallen has recently said she supports a responsible "Open Carry Law" so a signature could be in the future.
Both bills require a valid concealed carry permit if you choose to carry a firearm in the open. All the same laws apply as far as where you can carry, prohibited areas, caliber restrictions and all firearms carried in the open must be in a holster of some type. 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 falling out of the holster.
I support the bill(s) and hope to see open carry passed into law. Most states allow some form of open carry only 7 states including Oklahoma forbid it. All the usual anti-gun groups, politicians and organizations have come out to oppose the new law claiming there will be blood in the streets and it'll be the wild west all over again. Of course they've said this every time pro-gun legislation passes in any state regardless of what it is. These hysterical statements are all without merit, fact or reality. As a matter of fact the exact opposite happens, crime rates go down and order prevails.
I'll continue carrying concealed but like having the option of open carry available especially when enjoying outdoor activities like fishing, camping and hiking. While the current laws allow a person to possess a firearm when engaging in various outdoor activities the law isn't crystal clear and can be interpreted in many different ways, this will clear a lot of that up. If you've ever been out fishing or camping somewhere while nothings in season and you aren't hunting you know exactly what I'm talking about.
So what are your opinions on open carry? Do you agree or disagree? If you're currently a permit holder will you continue to carry concealed or in the open? Or maybe a combination of both depending on where you're at and what you're doing? Speaking for myself I like having the option and applaud our legislators for their continued support, defense and recognition of our Second Amendment rights.