Oklahoma Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bill

The first of several pro-gun bills passed by the Legislature this session was signed by the Governor on April 7, 2016.

The new legislation, SB1057, clarified the statute used by cities to ban the carrying of weapons on fairgrounds property during state fairs.

Robert Robles, Oklahoma U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney, said, “In addition to closing a loophole, SB1057 dramatically reforms much of the prohibited places section of the Self Defense Act.”

Robert S. Robles is based in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles

Under the present law, during the Tulsa and Oklahoma State Fairs, it is legal to carry on the fairgrounds, but illegal to carry into any structure (including restrooms).

When the new law goes into effect, the Tulsa and Oklahoma Fairgrounds buildings will be gun-free areas during the state fairs.  However, there will be no criminal penalty for those with a concealed carry license for possessing a gun inside fairgrounds buildings. The gun-carrying individual may be denied entrance or asked to leave if the conceal carry weapon is discovered.  If he refuses to leave and the police are summoned, he can be issued a citation for an amount not to exceed $250.

Note that this new law does not apply to any other county fair or fairgrounds.

Robles points out, “Under the provisions of this new law, it will no longer be a misdemeanor crime to carry into many public buildings. The penalty is lowered to a trespass violation with a maximum fine of $250. This excludes courthouses, courtrooms, jails and prisons, and public schools.”

The law also provides that guns are now permitted at any publicly owned or operated sports arena or venue during a professional sporting event if allowed by the event holder, as well as any place where gambling is permitted, again if allowed by the property owner.  Removed from prohibited places where carrying guns is unlawful are public parking lots, including those places where gambling is authorized.

However, if the event holder prohibits firearms, the law decriminalizes carrying into professional sporting events held at public venues. Private venues have been removed completely from the old law, so the decision to allow carry is up to the management of the private venue.

Specifically, 21 OK Stat § 21-1290.22 is amended as follows:

“D. No person, property owner, tenant, employer, holder of an event permit, place of worship or business entity shall be permitted to establish any policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting any person from carrying a concealed or unconcealed firearm on property within the specific exclusion provided for in paragraph 4 of subsection B of Section 1277 of this title; provided that carrying a concealed or unconcealed firearm may be prohibited in the following places:

  1. The portion of a public property structure or building during an event authorized by the city, town, county, state or federal governmental authority owning or controlling such building or structure;
  2. Any public property sports field, including any adjacent seating or adjacent area set aside for viewing a sporting event, where an elementary or secondary school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or an International Olympic Committee or organization or any committee subordinate to the International Olympic Committee event is being held;
  3. The fairgrounds during the Oklahoma State Fair or the Tulsa State Fair; and
  4. The portion of a public property structure or building that is leased or under contract to a business or not-for-profit entity or group for offices.”

The bill also strengthens legal protections for businesses that allow employees to carry a firearm while at work as well as property owners that permit guns.

Specifically, 21 OK Stat § 21-1290.22 is amended as follows:

“F. A person, property owner, tenant, employer, holder of an event permit, place of worship or business entity that does not prohibit persons from carrying a concealed or unconcealed weapon pursuant to subsection D of this section shall be immune from any liability arising from the carrying of a concealed or unconcealed weapon on the property.”

Robles reminds us, “Until the new law goes into effect on November 1, 2016, the old laws still apply.”

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