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Oklahoma Gun Control Laws

Both state and federal laws exist to regulate the manufacture, purchase, sale, use, and possession of firearms and ammunition. Gun control laws must strike a balance between the need to protect the public from gun violence and the rights of gun owners to engage in lawful activities such as self-defense.

Federal laws address the manufacture of firearms and the licensing of gun dealers. They place restrictions on the ownership and possession of certain dangerous weapons and identify persons prohibited from having guns, such as convicted felons and those convicted of domestic violence.

The federal government enforces U.S. law through agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Congress created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement in keeping guns out of the hands of those who cannot have them.

Each state in turn restricts the purchase and use of firearms under its gun control laws. Gun laws must be reasonable and pay heed to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms for legal purposes.

Oklahoma Gun Laws

Oklahoma is a Western state with a reputation for being gun-friendly. Its gun laws strive to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to have and own guns. It has refrained from enacting new gun regulations to address increases in firearm violence. In contrast, it has moved to expand gun rights in recent years.

In Oklahoma, you do not need a license or permit to purchase a gun. The state does not require a waiting period after buying a firearm. If you purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, then federal law will require a criminal background check before delivery. If you purchase a gun through a private dealer or transaction, there is no requirement to pass a background check.

Although the state has not banned assault weapons, it does prohibit the possession and use of certain dangerous weapons and ammunition. For example, state law bans the possession or use of a sawed-off shotgun or sawed-off rifle unless owned and registered under federal law.

It also bans restricted bullets that penetrate body armor. Restricted bullets have a round or elongated missile with a core that is less than 60% lead with a fluorocarbon coating. Unauthorized use of body armor during a crime can also net a criminal more time in prison.

State law prohibits possession of firearms by convicted felons and noncitizens who are illegally in the U.S. Oklahoma also makes it a crime to provide firearms to felons, those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and those with mental incompetence.

The state prohibits minors (under 18 years of age) from possessing a firearm in most circumstances. A parent, guardian, or adult authorized by a parent or guardian can allow a minor to possess a gun for only the following reasons:

  • Participation in hunting animals or fowl
  • Hunter safety classes
  • Education and training in the safe use of firearms
  • Target shooting
  • Skeet, trap, or other sporting events and competitions

Oklahoma Carry Laws

Oklahoma has several statutes related to the right to carry weapons. In recent years, the state has loosened restrictions on both concealed and open carry of firearms.

In 2019, Oklahoma enacted a permitless carry law. This law allows persons who are 21 years of age or older (18-20 years of age if in the Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard) to carry firearms, concealed or open, without first passing a background check or obtaining a handgun license. Those who choose to carry must still abide by the law. If they fall under prohibited categories under state or federal law, they risk arrest and prosecution.

Individuals may still apply for a concealed handgun license for purposes of reciprocity in other states. The application process falls under the authority of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). You may apply for an Oklahoma Self-Defense Act handgun license through the OSBI or your local sheriff's office.

Applicants must show residency in Oklahoma, which you can prove with a valid Oklahoma driver's license, a state photo identification card, or proof of maintaining a residence in the state. Firearms safety training through a program approved by the Oklahoma Council of Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) is also required. Further eligibility criteria are highlighted in the table below.

Oklahoma gun carry laws often provide exceptions for the carrying of firearms by peace officers and other law enforcement officers who are on duty. Other exceptions exist for self-defense, hunting, fishing, educational and recreational activities, judges, and living history reenactments.

Prohibited Locations

Even states that have reduced obstacles to carrying weapons prohibit bringing a firearm to certain locations. Oklahoma is no exception to the rule. In general, Oklahoma law prohibits having a firearm in the following places:

  • Government buildings used for conducting business with the public
  • Courthouses and courtrooms
  • Prisons, jails, and other detention facilities
  • Public and private elementary and secondary schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Publicly owned or operated sports arenas and venues, unless allowed by the event holder
  • Gambling locations, unless allowed by the property owner
  • Establishments where the sale of alcoholic beverages is the primary purpose of the business
  • Places set aside by local or state government for an event with minimum security provisions

Exceptions are made for law enforcement and other special situations.

Oklahoma Gun Laws Overview

Like several other states, Oklahoma enacted a state preemption law in the area of firearms. This law limits municipalities like Oklahoma City from passing ordinances related to gun control that conflict with state law.

The following table summarizes key Oklahoma gun laws.

Relevant Oklahoma Gun Control Statutes (Laws)

Oklahoma Statutes Title 21, Crime and Punishments, Chapter 53, Manufacturing, Selling, and Wearing Weapons, Sections 1271.1 through 1290.27

Illegal Arms

Oklahoma prohibits the possession of the following:

  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Sawed-off rifles
  • Handguns loaded with restricted bullets or ammunition larger than .45 caliber

Waiting Period

Oklahoma does not have a waiting period to purchase a gun.

Who May Not Own

In Oklahoma, it is unlawful to possess a firearm if a person:

  • Has been convicted of any felony or is serving probation for a felony, except those who have obtained a pardon for a nonviolent felony
  • Has been adjudicated as a delinquent child or a youthful offender for an act that would be a felony offense if committed by an adult within the last 10 years
  • Is a noncitizen illegally or unlawfully in the United States

License Required?

No. A license is not required to own or purchase a gun in Oklahoma.

Concealed Carry License Required?

No. Residents have the option of getting a license to carry a handgun, concealed or unconcealed. If you are 21 years old and may legally purchase and possess a firearm, you do not need a license or permit to carry a firearm. Whether you have a license or not, you may not carry a firearm with a criminal purpose and must abide by location restrictions.

Open Carried Allowed?

Yes. If you are 21 years old and may legally purchase and possess a firearm, you do not need a permit to open carry a firearm. However, you cannot carry a firearm with a criminal purpose and must abide by location restrictions.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

A handgun license is not required in Oklahoma, but the state offers a license for people who wish to carry a firearm in other states for reciprocity. To be eligible for a handgun license, you must comply with provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act. You must:

  • Be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Be an Oklahoma resident or someone who has established residency in Oklahoma
  • Be 21 years of age or 18 years of age and a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Reserve, the National Guard, or have an honorable discharge from service
  • Complete a firearms safety and training course; demonstrate competence and qualifications with the type of gun to be carried; and provide a certificate or proof supporting an exemption
  • Not be ineligible to possess a handgun due to any felony conviction or adjudication as a delinquent
  • Not have been adjudicated as a mentally incompetent person
  • Not make any false or misleading statement on the application for a handgun license
  • Not have a conviction for certain assault and battery misdemeanor offenses, stalking, violation of a protective order, domestic abuse misdemeanor, or drug offenses during the last 10 years
  • Not have attempted suicide or have had any other condition relating to, or indicating, mental instability or an unsound mind within the last 10 years
  • Not currently undergoing treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder
  • Not have significant character defects as evidenced by a criminal record indicating habitual criminal activity
  • Not be ineligible to possess a pistol under Oklahoma or federal law
  • Not have an outstanding felony warrant
  • Not have an arrest for an alleged commission of a felony offense
  • Not have a deferred sentence or deferred prosecution of a felony offense
  • Not have any involuntary commitment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder
  • Not have previously undergone treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder that required medication or supervision
  • Not have received inpatient treatment for substance abuse
  • Not have two or more convictions of public intoxication
  • Not have two or more misdemeanor convictions relating to intoxication or driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance or alcohol in the last three years
  • Not have a court order for a final Victim Protection Order against the applicant
  • Not have an adjudicated delinquent or convicted felon residing in the residence of the applicant in the last 30 days
  • Not have an arrest for an alleged commission of, a charge pending for, or a deferred prosecution for certain assault and battery misdemeanor offenses, stalking, violation of a protective order, or domestic violence misdemeanors
  • Have not had a handgun license revoked in the last five years

Machine Gun Laws

  • Oklahoma prohibits a person convicted of a felony, or a person adjudicated delinquent for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, from possessing a machine gun.
  • Oklahoma has no general prohibition against possessing a machine gun, but federal law restricts machine gun possession with limited exceptions.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

The punishment for violating Oklahoma's gun laws depends on the offense. The following are common offenses and their penalties:

  • Illegal possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony is a felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison.
  • Illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun or a sawed-off rifle is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
  • Unlawful carrying of a firearm and allowing a minor to possess a firearm are both misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $100 to $250, or both. Upon a second offense, the penalties become 30 days to three months in jail, a fine of $250 to $500, or both.
  • Illegal transfer of a firearm to a prohibited person and carrying a weapon while intoxicated are both misdemeanors, punishable by 10 days to six months in jail, a fine of $50 to $500, or both.
  • Carrying a firearm with unlawful intent is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
  • Possession or use of restricted bullets is a felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Illegal possession of a gun on school grounds is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250.

Red Flag Law?

Oklahoma does not have a red flag law designed to remove firearms from those deemed a threat of physical harm to themselves or others. Oklahoma passed an anti-red flag law in 2020, preventing any state agency or political subdivision from accepting any grants or funding related to the establishment of an extreme risk protection order. (See Okla. Statutes Section 1289.24c)

Universal Background Checks?

No. Oklahoma does not regulate private gun sales or require criminal background checks in such transactions.

Stand Your Ground Law?

Yes. Along with the more traditional Castle Doctrine, permitting the use of deadly force to defend one's home, place of business, or motor vehicle from an intruder, Oklahoma adopted a Stand Your Ground law. This law provides that a person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is attacked in a place they have a legal right to be may stand their ground and meet force with force. This includes the use of deadly force if a person reasonably believes that they need to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm or the commission of a forcible felony. There is no duty to retreat before engaging in appropriate defensive force.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

Oklahoma Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Seek the Advice of an Oklahoma Attorney

If you have questions about your right to own a gun or have been charged with a gun crime, consider contacting an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney.

An attorney can give specific advice about your unique circumstances and help you get the best outcome possible.

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