Open Carry Gun Law Raises Concerns In Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY - Lawmakers are considering an "open carry" gun law, but there were concerns at the capitol and elsewhere that the proposed bill was not strict enough. Some of that pushback even came from gun rights supporters.
For Kelly Boatwright, guns pay the bills. He owns Sgt. Everett's, a shooting range in Norman.
"Firearms are engrained in Oklahomans' history," explained Boatwright. "There's a big explosion in the last couple of year within the firearm industry, sale of firearms."
Boatwright said he supported the right to openly carry a gun, but had concerns that lawmakers should be more specific with the language in the bill.
"The bill as I understand it for the open carry is they're requiring you to have some sort of training and documentation, but it's not a license," Boatwright said.
That brings up the question of how strong the background check process would be for an open carry, and if more guns could end up in the wrong hands.
Senator Steve Russell, a republican who backed the bill, said he believed the industry has regulated itself.
"The same FBI background checks you would get with a concealed carry permit, you would also get if you purchased a handgun over-the-counter," Russell said.
One option Boatwright would rather see is this bill piggy-backed on the concealed weapons regulations. Russell, who amended bill, said that was not an option.
"I think it's discriminatory. What if I can't afford a $200 concealed carry permit? I still have just as much right as an American to keep and bear arms," Boatwright said.
Some other concerns included businesses beginning to ban all guns because they don't feel comfortable with the open carry, which ultimately would take away the rights of someone with a concealed permit.