OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – To celebrate the first day of permitless carry, dozens of supporters held a rally at the state capitol on Friday.
Multiple supporters were armed with pistols, rifles and shotguns.
House majority leader, Representative Jon Echols, even told the crowd he was carrying a firearm at the capitol for the first time.
”I’ve been trained, I’ve taken the course. I believe if I’m going to do it I need to know what I’m talking about,” Echols told News 4. “I didn’t believe in paying the State of Oklahoma to exercise my Second Amendment right.”
Echols and other lawmakers attended the rally to celebrate permitless carry. This is something Representative Jason Lowe fought hard against. First with a petition that fell short of the required number of signatures, he also took the issue to the State Supreme Court where the injunction was denied.
“We have a difference of opinion on this. Nothing I say is aimed at Lowe, who is a good man. I do think this is not about training, in fact, most of the people here are trained,” Echols said. “Background checks still exist on the federal level. This is about giving citizens back their rights.”
The rally was led by the 2nd Amendment Association. President Don Spencer says this day was a long time coming.
“Peaceful, law abiding citizens just want to have the ability to possibly defend themselves,” Spencer said. “We know the thugs aren’t going to pay attention to the laws anyways.”
After the rally, several supporters made their way to the Oklahoma City Zoo where they bought tickets and carried firearms inside. Spencer says it was important to exercise their right at the zoo because just last year he was removed for carrying a handgun.
“The legislation now clarifies the fact that a person can carry on a public trust property,” Spencer said. "They have to carry concealed, but the fact is people were carrying there anyway. So why wouldn’t it be legal?”
One supporter even brought his entire family to the rally. He said it was important for his kids to see what was happening.
“All they see in the public is they see a lot of bad things that are happening. They see a lot of people that are against our rights, more than they see for them,” Damien Garza told News 4. “I want to get them exposed to it, and get them out here to be able to see all this.”