Gun

Gun control advocates say they’ll spend October distributing “firearms prohibited” window stickers to Oklahoma business owners who don’t want untrained and unlicensed consumers carrying guns into their establishments.

The effort marks gun-control advocates’ next effort to thwart the new controversial gun law, which takes effect Nov. 1.

“We know that our businesses are allowed to prohibit guns on their property,” said Kay Malan, of Tulsa, who volunteers with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

In recent weeks, the gun-control group also participated in a citizen-led ballot initiative that sought give voters a say on whether to accept or reject the legislation. The effort failed to garner enough signatures to get the issue before voters.

The legislative measure allows anyone at least 21 years old without a felony conviction or other criminal records to carry with no permitting, licensing or training. The bill does not allow people to brandish firearms nor does it change where Oklahomans can legally carry. For instance, people would still be prohibited from carrying on college campuses.

Despite the failure get the measure on the ballot, Malan said tens of thousands of Oklahomans inked their name to the ballot effort in just 15 days. Many of those were concealed carry holders who said they believed everyone should have some form of training to carry a gun, she said.

“I believe the majority of Oklahomans don’t want to see permitless carry take place in Oklahoma,” Malan said. “We know that the majority of people are for common-sense gun laws in Oklahoma.”

Malan said opponents can’t stop the law from happening, but are looking at their options going forward. That could include possibly launching a full signature-gathering effort that lasts 90 days, she said.

“We will definitely pursue every avenue,” she said. “We are not giving up. We’re very concerned with what’s happened.”

Still when the law takes effect next month, Oklahoma will become the 16th state to allow it, supporters say. The measure also passed the Republican-controlled Legislature with overwhelming support.

Gun owners must still also acquire a permit to legally carry in some other states.

Steve Emmons, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, said there’s always concern when there are changes to the state’s gun laws.

“At least with a license, we have a database of who the licensed people are, and we know they’ve been through some training,” he said. “With constitutional carry, you’re taking those away.”

He said while there are worries about the change in state law, he doesn’t know how widespread they are among his members. Emmons said that people don’t seem as vocal as it was a few years ago when lawmakers first legalized open carry.

Don Spencer is president of the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, which championed the measure. He said there will be a gun’s right rally outside the state Capitol at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.

“(Oklahomans) will celebrate the 112 years of the unconstitutional prohibition of Second Amendment rights,” he said in a text message.

Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at jstecklein@cnhi.com.

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