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Open Carry On the Way

A proposed Oklahoma open carry law moved one step closer yesterday. House Bill 2522 easily passed through committee and now moves on to the full state house for consideration. The measure is similar to one that was passed by the state legislature two years ago but vetoed by then Governor Brad Henry. With a Republican in the Governor's Mansion, the chances are much better for passage this time around. The bill has several functions.

· It first would allow Oklahomans, with a valid license under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act to carry a loaded firearm, to do so in plain sight. Instead of having to conceal your weapon, you could keep it in a holster on the exterior of your clothing.

· The bill would also make it legal for such a person to keep ammunition in a locked automobile in a parking lot. However, businesses would continue to have the ability to ban firearms completely.

· Oklahomans would additionally be able to carry a loaded firearm on their own private property without a license. The only stipulation is that the person must be carrying the weapon for a legitimate purpose. This restriction, while seemingly vague, is praised by many for its ability to allow individual jurisdictions to exercise their own authority in determining the best course of implementation.

· Another part of the measure drastically reduces maximum fines and penalties for motorists who have a concealed weapon but fail to disclose this when stopped by law enforcement officers.

Critics say this is a step back from civilized society. Advocates contend this bill further strengthens Second Amendment rights. Regardless of your position, gun laws are strictly enforced and violations can carry severe penalties. If you have questions about your own criminal violations and the rights afforded to you, contact one of our former Assistant District Attorneys and experienced criminal defense lawyers.

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