The state of Oklahoma became the 25th state in the US to allow licensed open carry of handguns on November 1, 2012, when Senate Bill 1733, commonly called the Self Defense Act, took effect after being signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin.
Many buildings have ‘no gun’ signage posted, including municipal, county and federal buildings throughout the state. Public venues, such as open city parks and other facilities must abide by the state statute. The city of Davis had to make a decision at yesterday’s monthly city council and municipal authority meeting. The city received a letter from an Oklahoma City group seeking a ruling on whether or not they would be barred from open or concealed carry of their weapons inside the Turner Falls Park, which has had a long-standing rule banning all firearms, including air rifles, BB guns, and fireworks. Park employees reported they have had out of state law enforcement inquire about the rule as well.
After a moment of deliberation, the council concluded that the rule would stand, except when pertaining to handguns in possession of licensed guests per the Self Defense Act. Newly sworn in council member Brian Davis said he felt the city cannot prohibit licensed handgun carry in the recreational area.
Davis City Manager Tom Graham said that Oklahoma parks cannot stop guests from carrying their handguns, “even though guests may be uneasy.” The council discussed that the measure, if passed, would require some changes to existing signage throughout the park, on brochures, and the website. The council agreed to pass the measure, noting that it would pertain to the grounds but not the city-maintained buildings. As council member Stan Jones said, “Just because the signs are there doesn’t mean they’re compliant.” Those present, including Davis, Graham, Jones, council member Darryl McCurtain and Mayor Ed Parks, voted unanimously to approve the measure.