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. In 2019, the state became even more gun friendly by passing a law to eliminate 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.
Until November 2019, you need a license (and firearms training) to carry a concealed handgun. But under the law that takes effect then, you may carry a concealed handgun for legitimate purposes anywhere in the state (except in a few restricted places discussed below), as long as you 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:
The state will still issue concealed carry licenses, but they won't be required.
The 2019 bill also makes it illegal for undocumented immigrants to carry handguns and dangerous firearms. In addition, it changes the rules for anyone carrying guns in motor vehicles. Instead of requiring all guns to be unloaded and in plain view, it allows legal gun owners to carry loaded, concealed handguns in vehicles. Chamber-loaded long guns may not be transported in vehicles; if they’re clip- or magazine-loaded, they must be in a locked compartment. (Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §§ 1272, 1277, 1283, 1287.6, 1289.7, 1289.13, 1290.7, 1290.9; 2019 Okla. Sess. Law Ch. 1 (H.B. 2597).)
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.