In 2017, Oklahoma added more places where it’s unlawful to carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun. Carrying a concealed or unconcealed handgun into a courthouse or courtroom is now prohibited. Handguns are also now banned in publicly owned or operated sports arenas or venues during a professional sporting event, unless allowed by the event holder. Also, handguns are banned where gambling is legal, unless allowed by the property owner.
The new law clarifies that the prohibited places do not include any property set aside for the use or parking of any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, which is open to the public, or by any entity engaged in gambling authorized by law.
Penalties for carrying a handgun in a prohibited place
The change made the carrying of handguns a misdemeanor only in the following locations:
- Any courthouse, courtroom, prison, jail, detention facility or any facility used to process, hold or house arrested persons, prisoners, or persons alleged delinquent or adjudicated delinquent, except as provided by law and
- Any public or private elementary or public or private secondary school, except as provided by law.
A person carrying a handgun in any of the following places may now only be denied entrance onto the property or removed from the property. If the person refuses to leave the property and law enforcement is is called, the person may be issued a citation for an amount no greater than $250.00.
- Any structure, building, or office space which is owned or leased by a city, town, county, state or federal governmental authority for the purpose of conducting business with the public;
- Any publicly owned or operated sports arena or venue during a professional sporting event, unless allowed by the event holder;
- Any place where gambling is authorized by law, unless allowed by the property owner; and
- Any other place specifically prohibited by law.
Previously, the unlawful carrying of handguns into any of the above six areas was a misdemeanor.
Exceptions to places where it’s illegal to carry a handgun
Oklahoma does not prohibit the carrying of handguns in the above places by:
- Any peace officer or any person authorized by law to carry a pistol in the course of employment;
- District judges, associate district judges, and special district judges, who are in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and whose names appear on a list maintained by the Administrative Director of the Courts, when acting in the course and scope of employment within the courthouses of Oklahoma;
- Private investigators with a firearms authorization when acting in the course and scope of employment; and
- Elected officials of a county, who are in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act when acting in the performance of their duties within the courthouses of the county in which he or she was elected. This doesn’t allow the elected county official to carry the handgun into a courtroom.
There are also restrictions on and exceptions to the carrying of handguns in schools.
SB 833 amended 21 O.S. § 1277. The change went into effect on August 25, 2017.