Open Carry

State Question 809 would repeal a state law that allows Oklahomans to carry firearms without any sort of training or background check.

Opponents of Oklahoma’s permitless carry law are again appealing to voters to rescind it.

The law, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature last year, allows people to carry firearms openly whether or not they have any gun training and without any criminal background check.

That doesn’t make anyone any safer. In fact, it makes dangerous situations more dangerous because police officers won’t be able to distinguish the armed good guys from the armed bad guys.

We’re not sure what psychological fulfillment walking around with a sidearm provides, but we know it makes others understandably anxious. The person walking into the store behind you with a .45 strapped to his hip might not have ever fired a gun before. He might not have the sense to recognize the difference between an armed robber and a child with squirt gun. No one has ever checked to see if he has a felony record. And, because of the state law, there’s no way anyone could check.

The state’s previous law required state licensing, including at least rudimentary training and a criminal background check, for anyone to carry a firearm in public. That law wasn’t ideal, but it was better than what replaced it.

This is the second time opponents of the law have appealed to voters to overturn open carry. A previous attempt got a late start and fell short of the 59,320 signatures needed. Because the law has gone into effect, the number of signatures required goes up to nearly 95,000.

That will be a steep climb in a state where gun rights are broadly popular, but the challenging nature of the task doesn’t mean it is any less justified.

Reasonable limits on guns — including making sure the people using them a properly trained and aren’t criminals — don’t infringe anyone’s legitimate constitutional rights. We wish the backers of State Question 809 well.


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