Gavel to Gavel: In a rooting, tooting state
While Happiness Is A Warm Gun to the Beatles, the rest of us will need to add a holster. Oklahoma is preparing to join the open-carry movement.
In 14 states, it’s already perfectly legal (and apparently socially acceptable) to walk around with a holstered weapon in full display. Legislators flirted with an open-carry law a few years ago, but then-Gov. Brad Henry, the last standing Democrat in our state, vetoed it. But with two out of three government branches controlled by Republicans, passage is considered an easy shot this time.
Oklahomans with state-issued permits have been allowed to carry concealed handguns since 1996. The open-carry law will allow permitted individuals to carry their guns in full view in public places (absent specific prohibitive signage in a place of business).
Interestingly, one group expressing reservations already legally carries guns in the open: law enforcement officers. How will the first officer to arrive on scene differentiate the good guy from the bad guy? Traffic stops, already tense, will ratchet up a couple of notches.
Proponents, however, say we live in a dangerous world. To carry a weapon in full view of God and country is, in their view, a full-fledged, constitutionally protected right.
Along the lines of the “guns don’t kill people” argument, advocates contend that a criminal would not carry a weapon in the open, anyway, because it could attract attention.
If you intend to take advantage of this new law, there are actually open-carry starter kits available to help accessorize your weapon of choice. Start with the much-admired Glock 17, universally favored by good guys and bad guys alike. Follow that with the Galco Paddle Lite holster, hitched up by a cop belt (rated excellent for torsional tension and nice looking, to boot). Obviously, you’ll need at least one magazine holder and, the icing on the cake, a nice set of hollow-point bullets (ammo-conservation).
Finally, if you really want to get into the spirit, listen to Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), featured in the opening sequence of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: “I was five and he was six/We rode on horses made of sticks/He wore black and I wore white/He would always win the fight/Bang bang/He shot me down.” See you in the line at the grocery store…