Open-carry measure advances; prospects for passage seem high
BY World's Editorial Writers
Saturday, February 25, 2012
2/25/12 at 3:56 AM
A measure is working its way through the Legislature that would allow Oklahomans to openly carry firearms if they have obtained a concealed-carry license.
It's difficult to grasp why this is such an important issue for lawmakers, or anyone else in the state for that matter - other than the obvious political motivation behind it.
But if we're going to have to have an open-carry law in Oklahoma - and we probably are - then this latest version seems to be the most responsible and rational of those proposed to date.
A Senate committee has approved Senate Bill 1733 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, by a vote of 8-1. Sykes introduced the same measure several years ago; it passed but was vetoed by former Gov. Brady Henry.
The bill likely will pass, because Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, have indicated they would support such a measure.
It also seems probable that Gov. Mary Fallin will sign the bill if it makes it out of the House and Senate. A spokesman said she isn't ready to commit to this measure yet, but added that she "is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and has said she favors the principles behind 'open carry' legislation."
Most states already allow open carry under at least some circumstances. In fact, a surprising number of states even allow open carry of handguns without a license. Contrary to the concerns of some opponents of open carry, such measures have not led to wild-West shootouts or other serious consequences.
Oklahoma, according to open-carry advocates, is one of only six states in the entire U.S. that do not allow open carry under any circumstances. That's a little surprising, given the popularity of guns in the state.
There are some arguments for open carry. It is easier to draw a weapon that isn't concealed. And it's probably accurate that criminals will not open carry because they don't want to draw attention to themselves. Would law-abiding residents who openly carry a weapon serve as a deterrent to crime? Maybe, in a limited number of incidents.
So if it's preordained that Oklahoma will become an open-carry state, let's at least adopt some sound and responsible requirements to go along with that privilege. One requirement should be holsters with snap-down covers to reduce chances of a gun falling out or being drawn unintentionally.
Original Print Headline: Open carry