Oklahoma has more relaxed gun laws than some other states that can greatly affect the purchasing of firearms. Here are some differences between Oklahoma and California.

Buying a handgun in Oklahoma: No permit or license is required. Only requirements set by the federal government are pertinent.

1) Must be 21 or older. 2) Must present an Oklahoma ID. 3) Must have a background check performed by a licensed firearms dealer (FFL). This applies to private purchases as well.

Most FFL dealers will perform private purchase background checks for a small fee. The FFL is obligated to ensure that the buyer is 21 and a state resident.

Of course all buyers must meet federal requirements required in a background check. These are readily explained online and by any FFL dealer.

Buying a long gun in Oklahoma: 1) Must be 18 or older. 2) Must provide ID, though not necessarily state ID. 3) Must have background check conducted by a licensed FFL.

Naturally, all federal requirements must be met.

In Oklahoma, antique firearms carry no exceptions. If you want to buy a weapon carried by Davy Crockett, it will fall under handgun or long gun rules, even if inoperable.

Now, for California:

All federal requirements for background check apply regardless if for handgun or long gun purchase. For handguns:

1) Must be 21 or older. 2) Must obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). 3) Must provide California Driver’s license ID. 4) Background check requirement must be met.

5) Must provide proof of residency. Can use DMV registrations, utility bill with purchaser’s name within previous three months, or signed, dated and notarized rental agreements.

6. Purchase must be selected from Department of Justice Handgun Roster. Can’t buy just any handgun, including online or out of state purchases.

7. Must obtain FSC prior to transfer of any firearm. FSC must be renewed every five years. The test is not all that difficult and a small card is provided for future firearm purchases.

8) Ten days (no exceptions) must pass before a buyer can pick up a firearm. 9) Must complete a safety demonstration on picking up the firearm. 10) No firearm can leave a store without proof of a safe in the home or the presence of a locking device on the gun itself.

There’s more, but that is the essence of firearm purchasing in California. Forget about a so-called, “assault rifle.” The bad guys can buy them, but not law-abiding citizens.

Does all this work? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) stats say California has about half the number of gun homicide incidents per capita as does Oklahoma.

What CDC leaves up to the FBI to tell you is that roughly half of those deaths are suicides. Of the remainder, about half are bad guys losing shootouts to law enforcement.

And yes, some lives are lost due to individuals protecting themselves and their property. The CDC lumps these in “gun violence” and “homicide” categories.

Statistics are like dogs – treat them right and they will follow you anywhere.

Fred Causley is a former OSU Agriculture Communications employee and a longtime Stillwater resident and NRA member. Send him questions or feedback to papacausley@gmail.com.

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