TULSA - Voters could get a chance to decide the future of Oklahoma's "open carry" gun legislation. On Wednesday the House Public Safety Committee unanimously approved House Bill 1796.
State Rep. Sue Tibbs (R) of Tulsa is the house Author. She says, "It would allow the citizens of Oklahoma to carry a gun, whether it was concealed or unconcealed, if they go through the concealed weapon program through OSBI."
Larry Cheatham owns L&L Machine Guns of Tulsa. He is an advocate for the bill.
He says, "Having open carry would be beneficial. It would be a crime deterrent. You will be less likely to have people robbing a place if you walk in and somebody is actually carrying a gun."
Opponents say openly carrying guns may cause criminals to see those people as a target they need to neutralize before they commit a crime. They also fear gun owners could be shot with their own weapon if an attacker is able to get it away from them.
The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police polled its membership and found they are evenly divided: Half are in favor of open carry and half are opposed.
Mike Seeklander is the Director of Training at the U.S. Shooting Academy. He tells 2NEWS, "We absolutely believe in the second amendment. We believe everybody should have the ability to arm themselves if they are well trained."
While the bill would mandate training, Seeklander urges anyone who wants to openly carry a weapon to get an elevated level of firearms and self defense training.
He says, "The responsibility is huge. The legal ramifications of making a mistake and drawing and shooting someone when you had other options are huge."
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