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'Constitutional Carry' Signed Into Law In Oklahoma, Allowing Open Carry Of Guns Without Permit

Flickr / Matthew Burpee

Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill Wednesday that makes it legal for most Oklahomans who are 21 or older to carry a gun without a license. Oklahoma joins more than a dozen states that allow eligible adults to carry firearms without taking a safety course or paying licensing fees.

Under the new law, people wouldn’t have to undergo the current background check state law enforcement performs when people apply for a license. That background check is more rigorous than the one performed when a gun is purchased.

The new law also allows active military, veterans, and reserve military who are 18 or over to carry without a permit.

Felons, those with domestic violence convictions and some people with mental illness are prohibited from carrying a firearm. The bill also allows private property owners and higher education institutions to set their own rules regarding the carrying of firearms on their property or campuses.

The so-called "constitutional carry" bill is similar to legislation that was vetoed last year by former Governor Mary Fallin.

Supporters argue the bill restores Oklahomans’ constitutional right to bear arms while critics say removing the requirement for permits threatens public safety.

The law takes effect November 1.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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