Sunday: Oklahoma open carry may bring little change
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 27, 2012
There might not be much of a change Thursday when Oklahoma’s open carry law goes into effect.
The new law will allow permit-holders to carry their handguns out in the open. That could lead to more people calling 911 to report a person with a gun, according to law enforcement officials. And more people have been obtaining permits because of attention to the issue.
But, if anecdotal and statistical evidence from other states is any indication, those could be the only big differences in Oklahoma on Thursday, the date the open-carry law goes into effect.
More than 140,000 Oklahomans — about 3 percent of the population — already have their concealed-carry permits, and the new law will allow them to carry their handguns in the open.
Oklahoma becomes the 44th state to allow some form of open carry. Minnesota was the most recent state to allow residents to openly carry firearms. Before 2003 in Minnesota, carrying a handgun in public was illegal, whether it was concealed or openly carried, said Jim Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.
A 2003 law made it legal to conceal or openly carry a handgun with a permit in Minnesota — a change much more dramatic than Oklahoma’s new law, which adds open carry to already legalized concealed carry permits.
Since 2003, more than 109,000 people in Minnesota — about 2 percent of the population — were granted carry permits, said Jill Oliveira, public information officer for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
In the nine years since allowing concealed and open carry, Minnesota has had just five deaths from shootings by permit holders, Oliveira said. One shooting was found to be a murder while the other four were ruled justified, she said.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Scott Hannaford demonstrates putting a pistol in his holster at his home in Broken Arrow on October 17, 2012. Scott plans to open carry his handgun on Nov. 1, 2012. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World