ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department is offering tips to Oklahomans who plan to carry firearms under the state's permitless carry law that goes into effect Nov. 1.
In a video posted last week to the department's Facebook page, Lt. Warren Wilson, also a firearms instructor, explains changes brought about the voter-approved initiative and how those who plan to carry a firearm should interact with law enforcement.
The law allows for anyone older than 21 or an active or retired military or reserve member to carry a firearm without a permit or training. Firearms must be carried in a holster, case, scabbard or sling, under the law.
While the law does not require someone to alert law enforcement officers they are carrying a firearm, Wilson said he encourages everyone who does that encounters an officer to let the officer know.
"Put yourselves in the shoes of the officer that do not know you, or your intentions," Wilson said. "Anytime you believe you will have an extended contact with an officer, it is wise to let them know you are armed."
He said to treat the officer the way you would want to be treated.
"Traffic stops can be stressful for both citizens and officers, and a little empathy can go a long way."
Although under the new law anyone can carry a handgun without a license, Wilson said police are still encouraging citizens to obtain a permit.
Wilson said Oklahoma has reciprocity agreements with 38 other states to carry firearms, most of which require a license to carry a firearm.
The law does not distinguish between concealed or open carry. However, Wilson encouraged those who do carry to do so concealed.
"I would personally encourage people who choose to carry to do so concealed," Wilson said. "There is a bit of misconception that criminals will avoid someone who is openly armed, and that can be a deterrent. However, a more dedicated and violent criminal they will just see a firearm to steal."
Wilson also encouraged those who carry a firearm to do so using a quality holster.
"I would also encourage people to buy a quality holster. If it cost $15 to $20, it’s not going to be quality," he said. "When we see people have problems, dropping their guns in a retail store or public, it’s either they have no holster or it's not a quality holster."
Wilson also said police are also encouraging gun owners not to leave their firearms in their vehicles overnight or while the vehicles are unattended.