What Landlords Should Know About Oklahoma’s New Open Carry Law

The Oklahoma Open Carry law goes into effect on Nov. 1.

According to the Oklahoma Open Carry Association (OKOCA), the law means that: as of that date, “…it will be legal to openly carry a handgun in the State of Oklahoma. This means that any person with a valid handgun license issued by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has the option to conceal or open carry their handgun. Open carry means that the firearm is carried in a manner that it is clearly visible to others, such as in an outside the waistband holster worn on a belt or in a shoulder holster that is worn on the outside of a shirt, blouse, vest, or jacket.”

Answers to these frequently asked questions about the Open Carry law are courtesy of the Oklahoma Open Carry Association.

Do I need a permit to open carry? Yes. In Oklahoma a handgun permit issued by the OSBI pursuant to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act is required to legally open carry a handgun.

Is there any restriction on the type of handgun I can open carry? Yes. Oklahoma law limits an open carry or conceal carry handgun to .45 caliber ammunition or smaller.

Won’t open carry scare people? Almost every other state in the country allows open carry. There is no evidence to support the claim that open carry will cause more violence. The “wild west” image conveyed by those who oppose open carry is simply rhetoric. There is evidence, including an FBI study, which indicates that the presence of a firearm significantly reduces a person’s risk of becoming a victim.

Can I be charged for disorderly conduct if someone is frightened or offended by my open carry of a handgun? No. 21 O.S. Section 1289.24.A.3. “As provided in the preemption provisions of this section, the otherwise lawful open carrying of a handgun under the lawful open carrying of a handgun under the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act shall not be punishable by any municipality or other political subdivision of this state as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace or similar offense against public order.”

Is a police officer allowed to check the serial number on my handgun to see if it is stolen or check to see if my handgun is safe or not? No. 21 O.S. Section 1290.8.E. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a law enforcement officer to inspect any weapon properly concealed or unconcealed without probable cause that a crime has been committed.

Am I required to provide identification if I am stopped by a police officer? Yes. A licensed individual must notify a police officer upon first contact if they are in possession of a handgun. An individual must provide a valid handgun license issued by the OSBI and state issued ID or driver’s license to a police officer upon request.

What does this mean for landlords with regard to the occupants of their multi-unit residential buildings? It is still a crime to enter or remain on another’s property with a weapon after having received notice that weapons are prohibited on the property. However, under the amended statute, the occupants of a multi-unit residential building have the right to possess weapons anywhere on the premises of buildings that they occupy; such possession does not constitute criminal trespass. In other words, an occupant is allowed to possess weapons in his or her apartment.

Landlords may still prohibit occupants from possessing weapons anywhere on the common areas of their property as a term of their leases or as a reasonable rule affecting the property. This right is preserved at 21 O.S. Section 1290.22.A of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act. However, landlords should consider whether enacting such prohibitions might make the them susceptible to fair housing challenges based on an occupant’s Second Amendment right to bear arms for self defense or their Fourth Amendment right to privacy in one’s home. Landlords who participate in public housing programs may have a higher level of risk. It is unclear at the time of this writing whether such Constitutional challenges would be successful, and an attempt at analysis is beyond the scope of these FAQs. For now, Landlords can ban firearms in the common areas except for locked vehicles in parking lots.

May landlords prohibit non-occupants from possessing weapons on their property? Yes. The owner of a multi-unit residential building may prohibit non-occupants from carrying weapons (concealed and open) in the common areas or on the grounds of the building by posting signs. Posting signs is the only way for landlords to properly notify non-occupants that weapons are prohibited on their property. Signs on buildings should be posted in a prominent place near all entrances of the part(s) of the building to which the restriction applies and must provide appropriate notice of the restrictions.

Landlords who are interested in prohibiting occupants from carrying weapons should be aware of the risk and should consult with their attorneys.

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