By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
In the weeks leading up to Oklahoma’s revised open-carry laws, the Payne County Sheriff’s Department saw a surge in firearm permits.
Department records show 133 permits were issued in October. October 2011 had 75 permits processed.
The revised law allows permitted gun carriers to carry their handguns openly. Business owners and private property owners can also bear loaded guns on their property. The law only applies to handguns.
The new laws went into effect Nov. 1 and so far, law enforcement agencies have had few problems. Payne County deputy and Stillwater police officers both stated they have had no incidents with gun owners or concerned citizens.
Stillwater police have undergone training regarding the new laws and have been instructed on how to deal with certain situations. Officials did not comment on the specifics of the new training.
Sheriff’s officials said there has been no change in the department’s policy and there has been no additional training for deputies.
While the transition has been smooth in Oklahoma, there are some trends deputies said they do not want to spread.
Sheriff’s Department Capt. Kevin Woodward said in some states, there have been reports of residents purchasing and wearing “open-carry” badges. Woodward discouraged anyone from wearing badges.
“This can be a bad situation,” Woodward said. He explained that he does not want anyone to be confused about who is law enforcement.
Sheriff R.B. Hauf said there could be legislation in the future limiting badges, insignias or symbols that mimic law enforcement.
Hauf also encouraged any business owner who does not want guns on their property to display a sign or verbally ask customers not to do so.