Until April 2013, there was an unresolved issue as to whether a Texas CHL holder could open carry in Oklahoma because that state’s license holders are permitted to carry either concealed or open, and Oklahoma recognizes all state issued handgun licenses involving Texas CHLs.
The issue of whether or not a Texan with a Texas Concealed Handgun License can open carry in Oklahoma has finally been answered. Recently, the Oklahoma legislature amended their open carry statutes to put to bed the issue of whether or not reciprocated license holders from other states could open carry in Oklahoma. Previously, confusion was caused by the fact that there were two versions of the license reciprocity law in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, which had conflicting language.
Fortunately, the Oklahoma legislature amended the Self-Defense Act, and revised the previously ambiguous statute (Title 21 §1290.26 Version 1 and Version 2). The new statute unequivocally provides that if you have a concealed or unconcealed handgun license from any state (Oklahoma has universal recognition), you may carry concealed or unconcealed in Oklahoma. So, your Texas Concealed Handgun License, which is recognized in Oklahoma, will now permit you to carry open or concealed in areas in Oklahoma not otherwise prohibited by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.
As always, when you carry in another state that reciprocates a TX CHL, you must abide by their carry laws. A good source for the carry laws in other states is the NRA-ILA webstite.
Remember, Texas DOES NOT HAVE OPEN CARRY IN PUBLIC!!! You don’t have to conceal your handgun on your private property or the private property of another that gives you permission. Even in your car with or without a CHL you gun must remain concealed unless the use of force or deadly force is justified.
Reminder, we strongly recommend you not display a handgun in a non-deadly force situation. It may escalate the situation.
Concealed Carry Tip of the Month
I’m often asked if someone can see a bump or pucker under a person’s shirt or jacket is that person failing to conceal? The short answer in no. However, common sense must be injected in the equation. If half your holster is visible below your shirt/jacket, what do you think? In short, completely cover the holster/gun. If you were to bend down and someone saw the bottom of your holster or gun that would not be a deliberate display of the gun in violation of P.C. 46.035. If you have a tight shirt on and the gun or holster is obvious, you’re more than likely going to have a problem at some point. So in short, be honest with yourself when you look in the mirror. Is that definitely a gun or could it be my cell phone? Just because someone thinks you have a gun on doesn’t mean they can actually see a gun.
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Phil Ryan is a licensed Texas police firearms instructor, staff police academy instructor and CHL instructor since 1995.