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Governor Mary Fallin signed Oklahoma’s defensive display bill, SB 40, into law earlier this month.  The bill will go into effect on November 1. The vast majority of defensive gun uses consist of showing the perpetrator that the intended victim is armed. Unfortunately, many states have laws that do not recognize that reality.

In many states, merely pointing a firearm at another person, even for self defense, can be a felony, usually aggravated assault. The problem is that prosecutors with an agenda have used those laws to punish people for finding themselves in clear self defense situations.

Because of that, states have started to clarify the ability to threaten force without shooting. These laws protect the use of defensively displaying a weapon. Arizona, Florida, Iowa, and other states have enacted defensive display laws similar to the Oklahoma bill. 

The Oklahoma law is now fairly clear. From

J. A person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony shall not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act.

K. As used in this section:

1. “Defensive force” includes, but shall not be limited to, pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony;

Estimates of defensive gun uses vary from about 100,000 to 3 million each year (CDC pdf).
Only 1,500 to 3,000 people are justifiably killed each year in defensive gun use situations. About five to ten times that many are shot and wind up hospitalized. About five to ten times that number are shot at, but missed. The number of times when no shots are fired are about 90 – 95 percent of all defensive cases.
It’s generally considered a much better outcome if an attacker runs away, rather than being shot and/or killed. Perhaps they will be disuaded from engaging in further attacks. But this law makes it unlikely that innocent defenders will be penalized for successfully defending themselves without firing a shot.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. This law is a sign of the times.

    Instead of eliminating criminals, by which I mean hanging them, we’re forced to incessantly defend ourselves against them.

    I see no chance of changing this situation.

    • Considering that changing the situation would mean reprogramming human nature in everyone on the planet, you’re right – it will never change.
      Having said that, it is a good thing that (in the United States at least), defending one’s self is being decriminalized.
      The rest of the world has some catching up to do.

        • You can’t execute or exile enough people fast enough to prevent crime. Human nature is basically evil, and the nature of laws is to make more things criminal. You’ll never win.

        • Actually I would have to disagree that all are evil.
          most trouble is always caused by a few, it is worse when those few find a place in some kind of authority. Politician or Gang.

          but I would agree we will always have some of those few around.

    • As the article pointed out prosecutors are a large part of the problem. They will convict the innocent in some towns just to look like they’re doing their job, and/or carrying out the political will of their municipality. I knew a guy in Austin who pulled his .45 to dissuade a motorist who was making physical threats in a road rage incident. The man with the .45 was not part of the incident but had interceded on the behalf of a woman who was being threatened. This armed acquaintance of mine wasn’t arrested, but he was charged with brandishing a weapon which was later dropped. The last I knew he hadn’t gotten his Kimber back after months and months had gone by. Makes you want to carry a cheap pistol to minimize losses.

  2. Just remember keep the finger outside unless you mean to shoot now.
    You don’t want to use “pointing” defensive force then accidentally shoot them.
    And remember this is Oklahoma.
    As far as I know almost everywhere else pointing a gun is Lethal force. Heck.. grabbing someone elses gun is usually lethal force and grounds to get shot.

    Exposing your gun?; going from CCW to open carry, placing your hand on the gun in a ready position, drawing the gun to an in hand ready position, pointing at a target preparing lethal force but not urgent [hostile drawing of knife at 30 feet.

  3. I believe in my communist authoritarian state…This is refered to as “brandishing, or menacing…” Charges are usually at the Discretion of the arresting officer….And are also given the ability to charge you with something illegal–even if its not…Depending on the action of the original arrest…wide discretionary power—allows for lawful fabrication of the law…Only for leftist PD in a communist authoritarian state….

    • “I believe in my authoritarian communist State…” You know, you should probably look up your State codes. If you are a firearm owner, and especially if you carry, you NEED to know the law. You damn well better know the law. is a fantastic resource and starting point.

  4. Mary Fallin is a mixed bag on firearms freedoms. She signed this but also vetoed permitless carry a while back. I get the feeling she is more of a strict establishment politician than a strict Originalist/Constitutionalist/Conservative.

  5. Many states allow you to carry but as soon as you go to use it you’re in deep trouble. Just another form of gun control.

  6. I live on a rural road and one evening two guys proceeded to destroy my mailbox. I went out and confronted them with my AR slung over my shoulder. I did not point it at them but they saw it clear enough. They became immediately compliant, apologized and offered to replace my mailbox. No shots fired, which was the icing on the cake.

  7. Defense against the system. Still not going to help “the law is now a business” reality of life in our once great nation. What used to be self defense; is now just big business for opportunist to get into a person’s wallet. The USCCA, and right behind them the NRA; with lil cards in our wallets we can access the 2nd Amendment.

    The harder a person tries to live within the Constitution it does not protect us against the capitalist society in your face every damn time the light bulb goes off in one of these sick bastards heads. “Hey we can make lots of money at that!” There is liberty and justice for those who can pay for it. This will always be our downfall as we spiral into our own greed.

  8. I think that if I was confronted by a threat that that was imminent, but not yet forthcoming, I would grab hold of the grip of my piece, (IWB) doing this without revealing the gun. I would then inform the perp that I would draw and shoot, if his attitude did not change immediately.
    Of course if the perp was seriously advancing towards me, and looked as he was intending great bodily harm, I would not hesitate to draw and shoot.
    By keeping your gun concealed, the perp cannot identify it, as to whether it was a self loader, or revolver, blued or silver colored etc. He wouldn’t be able to make much of a case about you threatening him with your piece.

      • You know why they call Oklahoma the “Sooner” state don’t you?
        Most people say they would sooner be dead, than be from Oklahoma!

  9. I’m a bit confused about this. If some A-hole is physically threatening me and I feel my life is in danger, I’ll draw my CCW. When I do this, the A-hole will automatically take my action as a threat on his life, and can therefore justifiably kill me. It’s only logical that you shouldn’t draw your CCW unless you intend to instantly use it. Not pulling the trigger is only an invitation to be killed. How do you defend yourself in court by saying I drew my CCW as a threat to scare the A-hole if your dead?

  10. Wow. As a retired AZ State Trooper and after reading all the comments so far, all I can say is many of you better learn what the law is where you live. Just because taking a particular action that you thought up sounds good or makes sense to you doesn’t mean it will to a cop or a prosecutor or a witness. I say witness because they are great, assuming they understand what is happening. This is why I’ve always taught you should make a lot of noise – yell your commands to attract attention. “Hey, I don’t want to hurt you, STOP!” Back away some if they advance. You better have a plan or better yet, several plans. If your actions don’t clearly mirror what the law states you can do to defend yourself after you believe you’re about to be a victim of a crime (or already are), you will be up the creek without a paddle. You better be able to articulate what the crime was you are defending yourself against and why you may be justified in using or threatening to use deadly force. And make sure your witnesses can understand what your were doing as they can greatly help you or hurt you.

    As for the comment regarding losing your weapon once you have threatened or used deadly force – that is true. It could be months or years before it is returned to you unless your state has a provision that it will be returned quickly. Be prepared to lose any carry weapon for a long time – permanently if you screwed up. Bottom line – Know the laws where you live.


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