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FAQ: Open Carry effective Nov. 1

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With just 12 hours before the new “Open Carry” law goes into effect, state leaders and law enforcement officials are reminding citizens to be aware of what is allowed and prohibited under the measure.

Under the new law, which goes into effect Thursday, Nov. 1, citizens with a handgun license through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation will now be able to openly carry hand guns.

Previously, license holders were only able to carry concealed weapons.

“Oklahoma will soon become one of 44 states that allow some kind of ‘open carry,’” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “I believe the law is consistent with the spirit of the Second Amendment and that similar laws in other states have shown that open carry can be implemented safely and responsibly. However, it is important that citizens, especially those that plan to openly carry firearms, understand and follow the law.”

Those who decide to carry firearms, either openly or concealed, must have both their handgun license and a valid government ID on their person at all times.

Fallin said, “It’s also important to remember that any privately owned business may prohibit open carry or concealed carry on their property. These prohibitions must be respected, in addition to the prohibitions on open carry at schools, universities and career technology centers, prisons, in bars, at sporting events, or on government property. Finally, I’m asking all Oklahomans to remember that, in the event they are stopped by a law enforcement officer, a person carrying a weapon must immediately notify the officer that they are armed.”

Here are some frequently asked questions that are being posed:

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

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

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

  • License holders may carry a derringer, revolver or semi-automatic handgun.
  • The gun must be less than 16 inches in length.
  • The ammunition must be .45 caliber or smaller.

Can I openly carry the pistol in my hand?

  • No. You must keep the pistol on your person and in a belt, shoulder holster, in a scabbard or a case designed for carrying firearms.

What happens to my concealed carry license on Nov. 1, 2012?

  • All concealed carry firearms licenses will automatically become handgun licenses on Nov. 1, 2012 and will remain in effect until they expire.

May I transport a firearm in my motor vehicle?

  • Under Oklahoma law, any person, except a convicted felon, may transport a firearm openly and unloaded in a motor vehicle at any time.
  • 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.

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

  • State law requires any person who is carrying a handgun to immediately notify a law enforcement officer that he/she is carrying a firearm when the licensee come into contact with the officer.
  • During any contact with police, an officer may demand that a person carrying a handgun produce the handgun license. In that case, the person carrying the gun is required to show the license to a law enforcement officer.

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

  • Any business that displays any type of sign prohibiting firearms
  • All city, state and federal buildings
  • All elementary and secondary school properties
  • On a school bus
  • Any bar or establishment where beer and alcohol is consumed if the sale of beer of alcohol is the establishment’s primary source of income
  • Any casino or 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.

Do business owners need to post “No Firearms” signs to prohibit guns inside their business?

  • No. Posting signs is a convenient way to tell the public not to bring firearms inside the business. However, the law does not require the business owner to post signs. The owner may tell people verbally that handguns are prohibited.

For more information, visit the state’s website.