How Oklahomans feel about new "Licensed Open Carry" gun law

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- Come November, Oklahomans with a permit will be able to carry their guns out in the open in most places. Governor Mary Fallin signed the open carry measure into law Tuesday.

The open carry law not only allows people to have their guns out in plain sight, but it also allows property owners without a permit to carry openly on their lawn for self defense. We talked to several people who all had strong and very different opinions about open carry.

Raymond Coats has his concealed weapon's license and says he is excited about the new open carry law.

"I know a lot of people that will conceal them behind their back in their coats. I never did do that, but now that you can wear them openly I probably will," Coats said.

Coats says even though he is in favor of the law he does have some concerns.

"It's going to cause kind of a problem with the police officers wondering 'does that person have a concealed weapons license or not'" asked Coats.

Bryan County Sheriff Bill Sturch says that could be a big issue. Under the open carry law businesses may continue to prohibit firearms to be carried on their premises and the law maintains the existing ban on guns in public buildings and schools. Sturch says he is concerned people may forget they are openly carrying their gun and walk into a school. He says that will tie up officers responding to a lot more calls and writing a lot more tickets.

"What's going to happen is they're going to into those places and their going to get reported or your going to create a nightmare with people by carrying a gun in those places," Sturch said.

Dozens of people agree and say seeing guns out in the open would make them feel extremely uncomfortable.

"I don't think I'd feel comfortable to it. It might make me feel scared and nervous you know especially kids. I mean I don't mind that people carry it just don't show it that's all," Chauwn Chau said.

However, others say the licensed open carry law does not seem to be a problem in states like Iowa, Indiana and Tennessee, and having a gun visible could be very beneficial.

"You're not going to have a whole lot of people attack somebody that they see carrying a gun," Donavon Wesner said.

Sturch says it could also impact open carriers who cross the state line.

"What is this law going to do about going to Texas? Because Texas doesn't have an open hand gun law like Oklahoma does now," Sturch said.

To carry a gun in public people still have to get a license, take a firearms safety course and submit to a background check by the OSBI.

The law goes into effect in November.


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