Oklahoma House passes open permit weapons law

March 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

TULSA, Okla., March 8 (UPI) -- The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow citizens to openly carry firearms on their belts or in a holster.

The proposal by Republican state Rep. Steve Martin of Bartlesville, passed on an 85-9 vote, would extend the state's concealed weapon permit law. To qualify, the person must be a U.S. citizen, a state resident, be at least 21, complete a firearms safety training course, pass a criminal background check, be fingerprinted and pay required fees.

"I would have thought by now somebody would have messed up," Martin told the Tulsa World (Okla.). "So it's further evidence that law-abiding citizens in possession of firearms do not add to the total danger."

Republican state Rep. Tommy Hardin of Madill said he is concerned seeing people walking around openly carrying firearms would cause anxiety.

The bill allows police to ask citizens carrying weapons to produce their permits, but does not allow them to disarm a citizen unless they are committing a crime. However, the bill offers no way for one citizen to know whether or not another citizen is permitted to carry firearms. Addressing this concern, Martin said, "I suppose you can ask."

In keeping with the concealed carry law, weapons would not be permitted in certain places, such as government buildings, prisons or elementary schools.

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