Starting today, Oklahoma’s open carry law is open for business. Huzzah! That said, only citizens with a concealed carry permit can openly carry a firearm in the Sooner State. Oh, and newsok.com tells us that “the pistol must have a barrel no larger than .45-caliber.” What’s more, “The law requires any person carrying a handgun to immediately notify a law enforcement officer that he is carrying a firearm when he comes into contact with the officer during any arrest, detainment or routine traffic stop. Additionally, a law enforcement officer may demand that a person carrying a handgun produce his permit. The law requires a gun carrier to show his permit to police upon demand.” Did I mention the list of prohibited places? For example . . .
• Any business that displays a sign prohibiting firearms.
• All city, state and federal buildings.
• All elementary and secondary school properties and on school buses.
• An establishment where alcohol is consumed if the sale of alcohol constitutes the establishment’s primary source of income.
• Any place where pari-mutuel wagering is authorized.
• Any sports arena during a professional sporting event.
• A meeting of almost any governmental entity or legislative body; any jail, prison or detention facility.
• Any place owned or leased by a city, state or federal government for the purpose of conducting public business.
• Any courthouse.
• Colleges, universities and technology centers, except where authorized.
• Any other place specifically prohibited by law.
Does that sound like a victory for gun rights to you? Which one of these obvious infringements squares with the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution? The bit about needing a permit, which currently takes close to 100 days to secure? The ban on campus carry? What?
The fact that Article II, Section 26 of the Oklahoma State Constitution—“nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons”—enables the trampling of Sooner Staters’ civil rights does nothing to justify this roster of regulations. At least in my mind.
Yeah, yeah, I know: baby steps. Realpolitik. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Win enough battles and you’ll eventually win the war. Etc.
Shouldn’t gun rights groups, including and especially the NRA, “hold out” for the firearms freedoms protected by our Founding Fathers? When pro-gun advocates accept compromise, aren’t they making it more difficult to achieve our birthright? I mean, what are the odds OK will roll back these restrictions?
Equally, is it morally acceptable to accept some limitations to our 2A protected rights to eventually remove them?
These are not theoretical considerations. One way or another, Illinois’ concealed carry ban is headed for the crapper. At some point, the pols will want to play let’s make a deal. As they will in NY, NJ, Hawaii and elsewhere. Should we?