Oklahoma bill to let former drug offenders obtain their open carry permit

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Giving people convicted of drug misdemeanors the right to open carry is something Governor Mary Fallin will soon decide on.

The proposed law is aimed at giving Oklahoman’s who made poor decisions when they were young a second chance.

Robert Patton is 46. When he was 20 he was found with marijuana.

"I was with a few guys that when we got stopped one of the guys said it belonged to me so I was the one that got stuck with it," Patton said.

Patton was convicted of the crime and spent time in jail, but still today he is paying the consequences.

He now owns a gun and archery shop, but is not allowed to carry a gun in public.

 "That little mistake has really put a damper on a lot of things in my life," Patton said.

 Rep. Steve Vaughan wants to help those like Patton.

A bill he is behind would allow people with a misdemeanor drug conviction get their open carry permit 10 years after completing their sentence.

"Why do you have to carry that around, the yoke around your neck for the rest of your life," Rep. Vaughan asked.

Representative Dr. Doug Cox does not see it that way.

"We need to make people aware of the consequences of committing a crime ahead of time" Rep. Cox said.

Now it is up to the Governor to decide.

"It will basically enable me to exercise my constitutional right to carry and bear arms outside of my business and my home and right now that is the only place that I am legally able to carry is inside of my business or my home to protect myself or my family," Patton said.

The bill has a lot of support in the House and the Senate. It overwhelmingly passed through both. We will keep you updated on what happens next.

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