NORMAN — We fully expect Gov. Mary Fallin to sign legislation allowing open carry of firearms by those who hold concealed carry permits. She has expressed her support for the measure. Her staff is researching the bill to make sure it fits.The number of Oklahomans holding concealed carry permits has grown every year.
The open carry law may not make much difference in the state. It will bring questions and stares from visitors. Gun owners will have to leave their weapons in their cars or at home in many cases. Government buildings, most stores, offices and schools won’t allow them.
The gun lobby at the capitol has apparently backed away from pushing to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns in college classrooms. University presidents feared a funding backlash if they didn’t support the measure, but the bill didn’t get traction this year.
Police officers don’t want to see open carry either, as they can’t easily discern the good guys with guns from the bad guys with guns. In a life-threatening situation, no one is going to ask which one has a permit.
It can’t help economic development, either. A consultant brought in earlier this year said the state had an image problem because of too many tornado sightings. He didn’t mention gun sightings, but we can’t help but think it, too, doesn’t project the state’s best image.