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Oklahoma Lawmakers Move Toward Open Carry Of Guns

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Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – If Oklahoma becomes an open-carry state, people will be able to carry a gun on display for everyone to see. It's an issue state lawmakers are setting their sights on once again.

A group of lawmakers is studying the idea before pulling the trigger on a new law.

The study included both law enforcement officials and gun industry leaders. It was an opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about the pros and cons of allowing Oklahoma to become an open carry state. Supporters are hopeful that this time around a law will be signed.

Paul Isenberg is a proud gun owner and has had a concealed carry permit for several years.

"I think [an open carry law] would stop a whole lot more problems than it would create," Isenberg said.

Isenberg said he doesn't see anything wrong with Oklahoma becoming an open carry state.

"I think if a bad guy sees a gun on you, he's not going to want any part of you," Isenberg said.

Tuesday, at the State Capitol, representatives met to discuss the issue despite previous attempts that failed to create a new law.

Last year, an open carry law passed the House and Senate, but was rejected by then Governor Brad Henry. If new legislation hits the floor, Governor Fallin may likely support it.

In a statement to News 9, the governor's office said in part, "Governor Fallin is generally supportive of the concept of open carry."

"When it comes to politicians and the politics of guns in general, I'll never say anything is a sure deal until they sign it," said Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range.

Hall was part of Tuesday's study with lawmakers. He said he prefers concealed carry over open carry, but does not object to the proposal. Those against the idea argue that allowing more gun rights will increase crime, but Isenberg said he doesn't see it that way.

"I think it would stop a whole lot more problems than it would create," Isenberg said.

State Rep. Mark McCullough requested the open-carry study. He was unavailable for comment Tuesday. There is no word on if or when a new bill will be called for votes.

According to OpenCarry.org, Oklahoma is one of seven states where open carry laws are completely restricted or banned.

9/20/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Lawmakers Seek To Allow Open Carry Of Handguns

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