Oklahoma has long been an “open-carry” state, allowing most adults to carry guns openly, without a permit, as long as they have a legitimate purpose and aren’t violating other laws. The state became even more gun friendly in 2019 by eliminating the license requirement for carrying concealed handguns. But not everyone is allowed to carry guns in the state, and firearms are still restricted in some locations. This article summarizes the state’s laws on carrying guns in public.
Without a license, you may openly carry handguns, rifles, and shotguns in Oklahoma for legitimate purposes—including self-protection on your own property, hunting, and target shooting. You also don't need a license to carry a concealed handgun most places in the state, as long as you have a legitimate reason and aren’t violating other weapons laws in Oklahoma. Along with the prohibitions in those laws on mere possession of firearms by certain people, you aren't allowed to carry a firearm if you’ve been convicted of:
It's also illegal for undocumented immigrants to carry handguns and dangerous firearms.
The state still issues handgun licenses, which could allow Oklahomans to carry concealed handguns in states that require the permits and recognize out-of-state licenses. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §§ 1272, 1277, 1283, 1287.6, 1290.7, 1290.9 (2019).)
In vehicles, legal gun owners may carry concealed handguns—either unloaded or loaded—and unloaded rifles or shotguns. Clip- or magazine-loaded (but not chamber-loaded) rifles or shotguns are allowed in vehicles as long as they're in a locked compartment. If you're stopped by police, you must tell the officer that you have a gun in your car; failing to do so, however, will only get you a $100 ticket. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §§ 1289.7, 1289.13 (2019).)
The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms to defend themselves or their property. But it’s a felony (punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000) to carry a gun or any other deadly weapon with the intention of hurting someone else illegally (Okla. Const., art. II, § 26; Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1278 (2019).) The state also restricts carrying guns under certain circumstances and in certain locations, including schools and bars.
Even if you’re otherwise allowed to have and carry a gun, you may be charged with a misdemeanor in Oklahoma (punishable only by a fine of up to $250) for bringing any firearm or other offensive weapon onto the property of K-12 schools, voc-tech schools, or school buses. There are exceptions, including guns carried by authorized personnel and weapons properly stored in vehicles when dropping off or picking up students. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1280.1 (2019).)
It’s a felony in Oklahoma (punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000) to bring a gun into a bar or other establishment where alcohol is consumed, unless you’re the owner or an on-duty law enforcement officer or private investigator. People with a concealed carry license can bring handguns into restaurants and other establishments where liquor sales aren’t the main purpose of the business.
It’s also illegal to carry or use guns while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even prescribed drugs if they affect you enough to cause abnormal behavior. If found guilty of this crime, you may be punished with 10 days to six months in jail and/or a fine of $50 to $500. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §§ 1272.1, 1272.2, 1289.9 (2019).)
The state prohibits carrying handguns in certain other places, including:
None of these restrictions apply in parking lots or wherever guns are specifically permitted. As usual, there are also exceptions for law enforcement and other authorized personnel. Depending on the location, penalties range from simply being denied entrance to a $250 fine. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1277 (2019).)
Changes in the Law and Legal Help
Because states can change their laws any time, you may want to check the current Oklahoma statutes using this search tool. Court decisions may also affect how laws are applied and interpreted. That’s a good reason to consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer if you have questions about whether and where you’re allowed to carry a gun in Oklahoma, or if you’re already facing charges for a gun violation.