The first piece of legislation Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law, Constitutional Carry, took effect Nov. 1. And while local gun store owners haven't seen a tremendous increase in sales, they have noticed a heightened desire to take a training course.

Okies 21 and older can now carry firearms without a permit or training, but that doesn't mean they don't want the education.

Dee Page, owner of Recoil Arms and Page Firearms Training, said she's noticed a small increase in gun sales, but more a larger number of people who training.

Although openly carrying a firearm is now legal, Page said her concealed-carry classes are still full.

"We also do defensive pistol classes and we do intro to handgun classes," said Page. "So if somebody wanted to get a gun and they didn't know what to do with it, we would take them and give them a four-hour intro handgun class to make sure they're proficient with it."

Trigger Happy Tactics has also seen an influx of people looking for training, but not so much in gun purchases. Chris Bond said he holds firearms classes every now and then, and typically has police officers present. But he added that people lately have been asking about laws pertaining to travel.

"It's more of the concern of, 'Hey, we want to go out of state and carry,'" said Bond. "Arkansas honors the Constitutional [Carry law], and I think Missouri and Kansas do, but Texas doesn't. So those are some things you've got to think about, too."

Just because Oklahomans can now openly carry firearms doesn't mean there are not laws in place to restrict it. For instance, gun owners still cannot tote their weapons inside of a bar or business that primarily benefits form the consumption of alcohol, and firearms cannot be brought into schools.

However, newly altered laws have some people concerned.

"Before Nov. 1, the law taught that if you had your concealed carry and you got pulled over by the police, you were supposed to say, 'Hey, I've got a gun on me' and show ID,'" said Bond. "Well, after, I don't have to say anything, so it's kind of a safety issue now."

Bond added that while Oklahomans are not forced by law to inform police with whom they come into contact that they have weapons, he recommends doing so for safety reasons.

One concern among people is that new gun owners might have a lack of training and knowledge about firearms. Beverly Williams, owner of Williams Shooting Supply & Gun, said she's glad to hear other firearms stores are getting training inquiries. She's also concerned, though, that with more people purchasing firearms, fewer people care about the reliability of the firearm.

"There are people who are coming out and buying a gun just because they can, and they still have to go through the background check and everything, but they're going to buy something cheap," said Williams. "They don't understand the old rule, 'you get what you pay for.' That's not any different in a firearm."

People who have been convicted of felonies or crimes involving domestic violence are still prohibited from carrying guns.

But the new Constitutional Carry law no longer requires a gun owner to obtain a permit. In the past, obtaining one required a background check, fingerprinting, a certification that showed basic knowledge of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, and proof of residency. To purchase a gun from a store, customers must still fill out a Firearms Transaction Record - Form 4473 - but Williams said there are ways of getting around that.

"There are home dealers, flea markets, and gun shows where that is skirted," she said. "They don't have to do a 4473, so in that respect, none of us know if somebody walks in - yeah, they may be concealing it, but are they legally concealing it? Can they legally have that firearm? That's my concern."

Williams, who is a supporter of the Second Amendment but "on the fence" about Constitutional Carry, said some people are carrying firearms for the wrong reasons.

"It's crazy to see somebody walking down the streets with a rifle, or a shotgun, or an AR," she said. "That's crazy. That's not what it's supposed to be about. People who do that are the ones who don't need a firearm, because they're out there for the wrong reasons."

What's next

The second part will focus on where people can and cannot openly carry firearms, and what readers think.

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