Locked and loaded in Oklahoma

Thursday, February 7th 2008, 7:25 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

It's been more than 10 years since Oklahoma passed the Self-Defense Act, which allowes people to legally carry guns.

Oklahoma requires everyone applying for a concealed carry license to complete an eight-hour class.

Jason, whose last name is being withheld for privacy reasons, enrolled in the concealed carry class at H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City. He wanted to have peace of mind.

"I just thought if something like that does occur, I'd like to be able to protect myself," Jason said.

During the class, instructors review safety guidelines and the rule of law. Self-Defense Act  instructors stress that a gun has one purpose, to kill.

"This is considered deadly force; deadly force means it's going to probably cause death," said instructor Dean Vassilakos.

Students must pass a written test. Then, instructors observe everyone load, handle and shoot a gun.

You don't have to qualify or have the best aim out there. You do have to safely operate the gun.

After correctly firing 50 rounds, you receive a certificate allowing you to get your license. The process does not end here. 

Next, you must travel to the sheriff's office and pay $125 for background checks and a license. 

The license is good for five years.

Applications for concealed carry licenses are on the rise. Last year, more than 16,000 people got one--that's the highest number in any single year since 2004.

"This is life and death we're talking about," said Miles Hall, owner of H&H Gun Range. "If you have to pull a gun and use it in self-defense, I want you to do what is required and no more."