Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin just signed Senate Bill 1733 into law, making Oklahoma the 41st state to allow open carry. The bill passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives by an overwhelming 85-3 vote earlier this month. The bill then passed in the Senate by a vote of 33-10. It will become law on November 1, 2012. Anyone possessing a license to carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act will be able to carry openly or concealed at their discretion. Any property owner will be able to open carry on their own property regardless of whether they have a license to carry or not. Businesses and government entities may prohibit open carry under the same rules that currently allow them to prohibit concealed carry on their premises.
Open carry is a hotly debated subject. Even Second Amendment advocates argue on whether the increased deterrent to criminals offsets the perceived risk of criminals targeting open carriers first. Weapon retention is another concern when in crowds or busy areas. In this situation, criminals could acquire an open carrier’s firearm by snatching it from the holster. Open carry advocates argue that open carrying reminds criminals that civilians can protect themselves.
With Governor Fallin’s signature, Oklahoma now joins Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Massachusetts as licensed open carry states.