Monday, May 14, 2012

Open Carry

Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

Last week, the Oklahoma State Senate passed Senate Bill #1733, authored by State Senator Anthony Sykes, (R-Moore) and State Representative Jeff Hickman, (R-Dacoma).  This bill will allow Oklahomans with a valid conceal and carry permit the option of carrying their weapon either concealed on open- holstered in public. 

On Saturday at the State GOP Convention in Norman, Governor Mary Fallin announced to the 1400 plus delegates she would be signing the bill.  “We believe it’s a responsible piece of legislation that allows licensed gun owners to be able to open carry if they choose. If they choose not to, they don’t have to. It also has sufficient protections in it that will allow businesses, certainly government institutions, and those who don’t want guns on their facilities to have those protections, too,” The new law will take effect on November 1st.

“The Legislature has made it clear that Oklahomans will have the right to defend themselves,” said Sykes, R-Moore. “The right to self-defense is God given and inalienable, and we intend to do everything in our power to defend it. This legislation further guarantees this right will not be taken from Oklahomans who choose to protect themselves and their families.”
The bill had broad based support across Party lines in the legislature.  It passed the House 85-3 and the Senate 33-10.  All Republicans voted for the open carry bill.  A similar bill passed the legislature in 2010, but was vetoed y then Governor Brad Henry. 

Critics of Open Carry contend that it will hurt Oklahoma’s image and we will see gunfights in the street like in the old west.  The reality is Oklahoma is currently one of only seven states across the nation that forbids open carry. There are forty four states that permit some form of open carry, most without permits and eleven states that allow open carry with a permit. This is not a new concept and in fact most states have experienced lower crime rates after they have passed open carry.

Some of the critics are gun owners.  Martin Albright at the Truth about Guns website says, “Open Carry is an invitation to a PR disaster.  Let’s be honest: not all gun owners are rational people. There are crazies out there. With guns. Advocating Open Carry. If one or two of those people push the limits of civilized behavior all firearms owners will get tagged as “crazy gun owners.” That’s infuriating to those of us who consider ourselves to be mature and responsible citizens. But that’s the world we live in. Enough such incidents and the hammer will drop on some serious (read: Draconian) gun laws that will make the now-expired “assault weapons” ban look like a pleasant memory.” Despite what Albright and Motor City madman Ted Nugget say, open carry isn’t just ‘weird’ and it does reduce crime. 
According to a 1985 Department of Justice survey of incarcerated felons, fifty seven (57) percent of the felons polled agreed that "criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police." That makes sense- the police seldom arrive during the commission of a crime. 

Research by the NRA has shown that ninety two (92) percent of criminal attacks are deterred when a gun is merely shown (or, rarely, a warning shot fired). By inference, this means that open carry would have the effect of deterring crime in the same way that a thief might choose another restaurant when he sees police eating donuts at his intended target.

Sykes has authored three pieces of second amendment legislation this session.  He is to be commended for his willingness to stand up for our constitutional rights.  

No comments: