Gun Usage for Self-Defense in an Open Carry State
Some states in our nation require a duty to retreat if a person is threatened with harm. In Oklahoma, though, you can defend yourself even with deadly force if your life is in danger. Oklahoma honors its residents’ Second Amendment guarantees and recognizes the right to self-defense, falling under what are normally referred to as the Castle doctrine and the stand-your-ground doctrine.
Additionally, Oklahoma is an open carry state (with some restrictions), which means that residents can openly bear arms. In 2019, the state repealed its requirement that people must obtain a license and undergo a background check to carry a firearm in public, whether open or concealed. Anyone 21 or older—or 18 and in the military or a veteran—who is eligible to purchase a firearm is allowed to openly carry or conceal carry a firearm.
If you have been involved in a self-defense incident using a firearm in Tulsa or elsewhere in Oklahoma, you might have questions or concerns about your liability or the potential legal implications. Reach out to me at Miliary Law Group for guidance. I’ll listen to your story, address your concerns, and represent you in any civil or criminal action that might be pending.
Ultimately, the right to self-defense is upheld and respected in Oklahoma, even through the use of deadly force. No matter where you live in the Tulsa metro area—including Rogers County, Creek County, and the Creek and Cherokee Nations—my firm is ready to protect your rights. Set up a consultation today.
Self-Defense Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma values self-defense and firearm possession as fundamental rights of its citizens. Some states have duty-to-retreat statutes, requiring individuals in peril to find the best possible avenue for escaping to safety before even contemplating self-defense. Not so in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma, as do 45 other states, recognizes the Castle Doctrine, which allows you to defend yourself in your home, car, or any legally occupied place, even a church, if you feel your life is endangered.
The state’s stand-your-ground statute reaffirms this right, in contrast to some other states and their duty-to-retreat statutes. A person is also allowed to exert deadly force in the defense of others, whether in a public establishment or in a “dwelling” to which the person is visiting as an invited guest.
Oklahoma Statutes Section 1289.25 lists several criteria for the use of self-defense, including that the “person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred….” Or a “forcible felony” was about to be committed….”
Open and Concealed Carry in Oklahoma
Since 2019, Oklahoma has legalized the open and concealed carry of firearms without a license, though licenses are still available for those who travel in other states and want their rights recognized there. You must be 21 to open or conceal carry unless you’re 18 or older and in the military or a veteran. There are restrictions, however, and some patterns of behavior or previous crimes can void a person’s right to open or conceal carry.
You typically cannot carry a gun in Oklahoma if you:
Have been convicted of aggravated assault and battery.
Have been convicted of domestic violence.
Have been convicted of stalking.
Have violated a domestic protection order.
Have been convicted of illegal drug possession or use.
Are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Businesses, however, are allowed to post signs forbidding the carrying of firearms into their establishments. Oklahoma also restricts the carrying of handguns into the following places: schools, bars, courthouses, jails and prisons, government buildings, offices used for public business, colleges, universities, or technology schools, publicly owned sports venues during pro events, and legal gambling establishments.
Every case is different, so it’s vital to contact a gun crimes attorney to address your specific needs.
Obtaining a Handgun License for Out-of-State Recognition
Those residents who wish to have their handgun carry rights observed in other states must obtain a license from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), which requires that you:
Be a U.S. citizen.
Show residency in Oklahoma.
Be at least 21 years of age.
Complete a firearms safety and training course and show competency in the use of the handgun to be carried.
Comply in good faith with the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.
Have no felony convictions.
Have not been convicted of any misdemeanors involving violence, domestic assault, illegal drug use, or other comparable laws in other states.
Have not been adjudicated incompetent in Oklahoma.
Do not make any false or misleading statements on your application for the license.
Are not undergoing treatment for any mental illness.
Have not attempted suicide.
Exercise Your Rights Under Oklahoma’s Open and Concealed Carry and Self-Defense Laws
If you feel your rights have been violated either in terms of open or concealed carry, or in terms of self-defense, reach out immediately to the legal team at Military Law Group. My team and I strive to defend the rights of all Oklahoma citizens.