Open Carry Means More Gun Owners, OKC Police Warn To Lock Up Guns

Monday, December 3rd 2012, 5:37 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The new open carry law means a lot more gun owners and more guns. But police are concerned that also means there's a potential for more guns to be stolen and fall into the wrong hands.

There has been a recent increase in Oklahoma City in the number of cars being stolen, and the number of cars being burglarized is high too. Although police don't know if there's a correlation between that and the new open carry law they say this is a good reason why you should always keep your firearm locked up.

On Monday, Don McNeill was looking for a safe for his gun to keep at his daughter's house. He's licensed to carry and says whenever the gun isn't on him, he tries to keep it locked up, even if a business won't allow him to bring his gun inside.

"If there was a business I absolutely had to go inside, I would secure my firearm in my vehicle," said McNeill.

That's exactly what police would like. Especially now that more people have guns. According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation currently there are 142,807 Oklahomans permitted to carry a gun.

Last year 24,018 people In Oklahoma were granted a license. This year, as the new law went into effect the state licensed 36,414 new gun carriers.

"We know there are legal guns out there, but the legal guns don't make you feel any better when a lot of time you know they're being taken in burglaries," said Capt. Dexter Nelson with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Police say guns are a prime target for thieves and stolen guns usually end up in the wrong hands. Gun rights advocates however, say keeping the gun in the right hands, means never having to leave it in a vehicle.

"Ideally, if you go up to a business and it has a no gun sign and that's forcing you to go put the gun in your car, we recommend in the trunk because it's a little more of a challenge to these smash and grabs," said Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports.

Hall says they have seen an 105% increase in gun sales with the new open carry law.

In Oklahoma city, more than 300 cars a month are reported stolen, between 500 and 600 are burglarized a month.