LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - People who live in Oklahoma can start carrying guns without a permit starting Friday. Lawton Police Chief James Smith said he hopes he doesn’t see the number of people carrying increase by very much. One Oklahoma lawmaker doesn’t think we’ll see a huge increase either, but he said the new law will make one department not get millions of dollars because people are no longer required to buy or renew their permits.
With the new permitless carry law, also known as Constitutional carry, gun owners can now conceal and open carry without having to go through the process of getting a license or training.
Chief Smith said he doesn't think this is going to be much of a problem for officers, just like the change to open carry.
"Oklahoma is a pretty weapons-friendly state,” Chief Smith said. “So, it's not uncommon to see people out and about with a weapon, so hopefully it won't cause that much of an alarm."
Chief Smith said they're making sure officers are well aware of the changing laws, so they are following procedures and making sure they're taking the necessary precautions.
Senator Brent Howard, of Altus, said he voted in favor of it because of people in his district called and asked him to. He said there are both pros and cons. People no longer have to go through the process of getting their license, which Howard said people said was burdensome. He said the biggest concern some have is people not being responsible.
"Responsibility is just going to come down to the personal individual, and I don't think that there is a lot of cons that are going to overweigh that we have use of our constitutional rights," Howard said.
While you don't have to have a license, Chief Smith hopes people will still take safety classes, so they're familiar with their gun.
"We want to recognize that everybody has a right to carry, we will honor that, but also we want to make sure that people are operating their weapon or any type of firearm in a safe manner," he said.
Chief Smith said if you get pulled over, you should still let officers know if you have a gun. People still can’t take guns into places like schools and government buildings.