Beginning Thursday, Oklahoma gun owners with a permit will be able to carry their handguns openly in public for the first time since 1971, The Oklahoman reports. Police expect the public may have unprecedented daily contact with guns, from city sidewalks and parks to supermarkets and restaurants. There will be an adjustment period for police and the public, said Maj. Bill Weaver, director of training for the Oklahoma City Police Department. Ultimately, he said, the long history of good behavior by the state’s permitted gun carriers likely will continue under the new law.
Weaver led a massive retraining project this month for the department’s 1,000-plus officers. In two-hour blocks, officers and dispatch training personnel were taught in a classroom setting the intricacies of the new law and what to expect when handguns in public become the norm. The question is how many permitted carriers will choose to do so openly? More than 141,000 Oklahomans possess a concealed-carry permit. “But we speculate that there will be a very, very small percentage that do this,” said Capt. Tom Easley, spokesman for the Norman Police Department.