I do not live in a constitutional carry state. That’s a shame.
That said, I do feel a bit of glee whenever our brothers and sisters in some state or another find themselves able to carry a firearm without a permit. Honestly, I’m genuinely thrilled for these folks. I’m jealous as hell, too, of course. Mostly, though, I’m happy.
Right now, I’m happy for folks in Oklahoma who will be in that boat starting tomorrow, November 1.
One of the 324 laws that go into effect on Friday is House Bill 2597, which will allow constitutional or permitless carry of guns.
The Tulsa World asked Robert Jerome, a longtime instructor, about some of the questions most often asked by concealed-carry students, what people thinking about carrying need to know, and what are some important dos and don’ts.
The first thing shooters need to know is the firearms law—laws, actually—addressed under Oklahoma Statute Title 21, section 1289.25 of the state penal code which is the legal framework for the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971, the 2018 Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and the basis for Oklahoma’s Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground Doctrine.
It’s a good idea to study all these aspects of the law but (hint) it’s a lot easier to interpret with the help of a professional firearms instructor.
DO: Seek training and keep up with changes in the law if you plan to carry.
DON’T: Don’t rely on your Facebook friends or “YouTube University” searches for legal advice, Jerome said.
That’s always good advice, really. If in doubt, though, err on the side of caution.
Anyway, moving on:
Q: What really changes on Nov. 1?
A: A few things, but the biggest is that a license to carry now is optional.
Among other provisions, the main change under House Bill 2597 is that the Self-Defense Act no longer requires Oklahomans who are 21 years old or veterans or military who are 18 and over to obtain a permit at a cost $100 for five years or $200 for 10, which required a training certificate that showed basic knowledge of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and an ability to handle a firearm safely, proof of residency or permanent military orders to be in the state, a background check and fingerprinting.
If you are a legal resident over 21 or military or and a veteran and don’t face legal restrictions that prevent you from possessing a gun, you have the right to carry.
And that’s really the big thing when it’s all said and done.
The truth of the matter is that we shouldn’t have to have laws to do what the Second Amendment already says we have a right to do. That said, this is the world we have, not the world we want, and so Constitutional Carry laws are a huge win.
Starting tomorrow, folks in Oklahoma can walk out of their homes with their firearms concealed on their own person regardless of whether or not they have a valid permit or not. Criminals still won’t, though, because they’re not legally able to own a gun. That’s something opponents of Constitutional Carry tend to pretend isn’t the case.
Anyway, congrats to folks in Oklahoma. My jealousy is outweighed by my happiness.
Edit (1:35 on November 1, 2019): I received this from the NRA and wanted to add it to this post:
he National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) welcomes Oklahoma as the newest constitutional carry state. Constitutional carry, now the law in 16 states across the country, allows law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms without first getting government permission to do.
The NRA-backed law, which takes effect Friday, Nov. 1, fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm openly or concealed without a permit.
“Government exists for the people, not the other way around. This law honors the right of law-abiding Oklahomans to defend themselves and their loved ones without begging for the government’s permission beforehand,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The NRA fights for law-abiding gun owners because we recognize that our freedoms are fundamental and natural, not government-given.”
For nearly 10 years, the NRA has worked closely with the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association to make constitutional carry a reality in Oklahoma.
“After 112 years, constitutional carry returns the fundamental right to self-defense to every law-abiding Oklahoman,” said Don Spencer, president, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. “By eliminating financial barriers imposed by government permitting schemes, constitutional carry ensures that law-abiding, but economically disadvantaged Oklahomans can always protect themselves in times of crisis.”
H.B. 2597 passed both chambers with broad bi-partisan support (House vote 70-30 , Senate vote 40-6).
This law does not change prohibited person laws or any law governing the misuse of a firearm, prohibited places where a firearm cannot be carried, or when force may be used in defense of self or others.
Sixteen states – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Kentucky – allow law-abiding individuals to carry a concealed handgun without a government-issued permit. (Montana allows Permitless Carry for all areas outside city limits – 99.4% of the state.)