On Thursday, concealed-carry gun license holders will be given a new right in the state of Oklahoma: the ability to wear their guns outside their clothes and in open view. And the new law caught the eye of the New York Times.
The Times did a two-page writeup on the new legislation. We’ve included it in part below (pay special attention to the last paragraph):
In a state with 142,000 men and women licensed to carry concealed weapons, the scene at Beverly’s will most likely become commonplace as Oklahomans take advantage of the law by displaying their handguns while they shop for groceries, eat at restaurants and walk into banks.
Advocates for gun rights said the ability to “open carry” would deter crime and eliminate the risks of a wardrobe mishap, such as when someone carrying a concealed weapon breaks the law by accidentally exposing the firearm. But the new law is a symbolic as well as practical victory. Supporters said there was no better advertisement for the Second Amendment than to have thousands of responsible adults openly carrying their weapons in a highly visible fashion.
“This enhances Oklahomans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said the Republican state senator who wrote Senate Bill 1733, Anthony Sykes. “I think the evidence is clear that gun owners are some of the most responsible people, and they’ve shown that in not just Oklahoma, where we’ve had conceal carry for quite some time and there’s never been an incident, but in these other states as well.”
When the law takes effect, Oklahoma will become the 15th state to allow people to openly carry firearms with a license. Those 15 states include Utah, Iowa, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several other states, including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, have even more permissive laws that allow the carrying of unconcealed firearms without a license. All but six states and the District of Columbia allow some form of open carry, said John Pierce, founder of OpenCarry.org.
Though common around the country, these laws in several states have posed legal and logistical problems for municipalities and law enforcement agencies seeking to balance gun owners’ constitutional rights with maintaining order.
Even in Western and Midwestern states where support for gun rights is strong, the laws have often passed after lobbying efforts lasting years, and have led to confusion and debate about where it is appropriate, let alone legal, for people to openly display their handguns.
In Mason City, Iowa, officials debated seeking an ordinance making it illegal to open-carry in city parks after two people displaying their firearms showed up at a children’s playground. To avoid potential litigation, officials decided to not pursue an ordinance. They instead started a marketing campaign last month asking residents to keep their weapons concealed in public parks.
On the East Coast, open-carry laws generate little controversy because several states make it hard for average citizens to acquire the permits necessary to display unconcealed firearms. [Emphasis added]
You can read the entire article here.