Oklahoma permitless carry
Supporters of Oklahoma's new permitless carry law rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (Amira Alavi)

Oklahoma’s permitless carry law went into effect Friday despite efforts to stop it and concerns from opponents. A review of news coverage and social media posts would seem to indicate that not much happened after the law’s implementation, at least on its first weekend.

The law, signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this year, allows citizens 21 years old and above to carry a firearm in public without a permit, with some exceptions. Active duty service members under 21 are also eligible to carry firearms without a permit. Former Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a similar bill during her last year in office, but the issue became the first bill Stitt signed as governor.

Convicted felons are denied firearming-carrying permission under the law, and private property owners can still prohibit people from carrying firearms openly on their property. Guns are still prohibited at airports and colleges.

But places like the Oklahoma City Zoo are not allowed to prohibit permitless carry owing to rules governing a public trust. The zoo currently receives sales tax revenue from Oklahoma City.

To that end, a group of Second Amendment advocates — including HB 2597 authors Rep. Jon Echols (R-OKC) and Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) — held rallies at the zoo and the Capitol on Friday.

Efforts to stop implementation fail

Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC) filed a lawsuit last week in an effort to stop the Oklahoma permitless carry law from taking effect, but courts rejected his request. Lowe previously attempted to stop permit-less carry with a referendum petition over the summer, but that effort fell short of collecting the required signatures to call for a public vote.

In a statement, David pushed back against the idea Oklahoma would return to its wild-west roots with the law’s implementation.

“It didn’t happen in Arkansas and Kansas when constitutional carry became law there, and it’s not likely to happen in Oklahoma either,” she said.

But there was at least one attempt to carry a weapon into an Oklahoma City restaurant this weekend. Twitter users posted a photo of a man with a rifle being asked to leave a Twin Peaks location in Oklahoma City. The law prohibits guns from being carried openly in bars and casinos. Twin Peaks sells alcohol, among other beverages.


Meanwhile, the University of Oklahoma made its students aware guns are still prohibited on campuses when the law went into effect Friday.

Lowe said Friday in a statement that the law doesn’t make Oklahomans more safe.

“Today, Oklahomans without training or a license will be able to carry firearms in public,” Lowe said. “I feel strongly that this law does not make our state safer but more dangerous.”

As of Nov. 1, there are 16 states with some form of open-carry law, including neighboring Arkansas and Missouri.