In 2019, Oklahoma repealed its requirement that people obtain a license and background check to carry firearms in public. As a result, Oklahoma law now generally authorizes any person who may legally purchase and possess a firearm and who is at least 21 years of age to carry loaded firearms in public, openly or concealed, without a license,1 subject to the same location restrictions as people carrying with a license.2 Oklahoma still issues handgun licenses for people who may wish to obtain them for the purposes of carrying in other states.
State law does make it a crime to carry or wear firearms with the intent, or for the avowed purpose of, unlawfully injuring another person.3
Oklahoma defines a “Concealed handgun” as “a loaded or unloaded [handgun] not openly visible to the ordinary observation of a reasonable person.”4
Eligibility for Handgun License in Oklahoma
As a “shall issue” state, Oklahoma requires the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (“OSBI”) to issue a handgun license to any applicant who meets all of the minimum qualifications to be eligible for a handgun license.5 To be approved, a person seeking a handgun license must:6
- Be a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident in the United States
- Establish residency in Oklahoma (possess a valid Oklahoma driver’s license or state photo identification card, and physically maintain a residence in the state or have permanent military orders within the state and possess a valid driver license from the state where the person claims residency);
- Be at least age 21;
- Complete a firearms safety and training course and demonstrate competence and qualifications with the type of handgun to be carried by the person, and submit proof of such training and qualification or an exemption;
- Submit the required fee and complete the application process; and
- Comply in good faith with the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.
People are ineligible to obtain a handgun license if they:7
- Are ineligible to possess a handgun due to any felony conviction or adjudication as a delinquent;8
- Have a felony conviction pursuant to the law of any state, the United States, or a foreign nation;9
- Have been adjudicated incompetent in Oklahoma10 or another state pursuant to any provision of law of that state;
- Make any false or misleading statement on the application for a handgun license;
- Have been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses including: any assault and battery which caused serious physical injury to the victim, or any second or subsequent assault and battery conviction; any aggravated assault and battery; any stalking offense under Oklahoma law or similar law of another state; a violation of the Oklahoma Protection from Domestic Abuse Act11 or any violation of a victim protection order of another state; a conviction relating to illegal drug use or possession within the last ten years; or an act of domestic abuse under Oklahoma law, an act of domestic assault and battery, or any comparable acts under the laws of another state;
- Have attempted suicide or have had any other condition relating to or indicating mental instability or an unsound mind within the last ten years;
- Are currently undergoing treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder (i.e., “has been diagnosed by a licensed physician as being afflicted with a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, psychological orientation, or memory that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life”);
- Have significant character defects as evidenced by a criminal record indicating habitual criminal activity;
- Have failed to pay an assessed fine or surrender a previous license as required by a decision of the authorized administrative hearing examiner; or
- Are subject to an outstanding felony warrant.
Other factors precluding a person from obtaining a handgun license, some of which apply only for specified periods of time, include:12
- An arrest for a felony or a pending felony charge. The person is precluded until the final determination of the matter;
- A deferred sentence or deferred prosecution for the commission of a felony. The person is precluded for three years from the final determination of the matter;
- Any involuntary commitment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder under Oklahoma law13 or any involuntary commitment in another state pursuant to any provisions of law of that state;
- Treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder that required medication or supervision, per Oklahoma law,14 unless a licensed physician certifies that the person is either no longer disabled by any mental or psychiatric illness, condition, or disorder or that the person has been stabilized on medication for ten years or more. Otherwise, the person is precluded for three years from the last date of treatment;15
- Inpatient treatment for substance abuse unless a licensed physician certifies that the person has been free from substance use for 12 months or more. Otherwise, the person is precluded for three years from the last date of treatment;
- Two or more convictions of public intoxication. The person is precluded for three years from the date of the completion of the last sentence, unless they have a certified statement from a licensed physician stating that they are not in need of substance abuse treatment;16
- Two or more misdemeanor convictions relating to intoxication or driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance or alcohol, unless a licensed physician certifies that the person is not in need of substance abuse treatment. Otherwise, the person is precluded for three years from the date of the completion of the last sentence;
- A court order for a final victim protection order against the applicant,17 or any court order granting a final victim protection order against the applicant from another state. The person is precluded for 60 days from the date an order was vacated, cancelled or withdrawn;
- Having an adjudicated delinquent or convicted felon residing in the applicant’s residence. The person is precluded until 30 days after the person no longer resides in the same residence as the applicant; or
- An arrest for an alleged commission of, a charge pending for, or being subject to a deferred sentence or a deferred prosecution for one or more of the following misdemeanor offenses in the state or another state: assault and battery which caused serious physical injury to the victim, or any second or subsequent assault and battery conviction; aggravated assault and battery; stalking under Oklahoma law18 or a similar law of another state; a violation of the Oklahoma Protection from Domestic Abuse Act,19 or any violation of a victim protection order of another state; any violation relating to illegal drug use or possession; or an act of domestic abuse under Oklahoma law,20 or an act of domestic assault and battery or comparable acts under the laws of another state. The person is precluded for three years following the final determination of the matter.
- If the person previously had a handgun license that was revoked within the previous five years.21
In addition, OSBI must deny the license if the applicant is 28 years of age or younger and a record on the state’s Juvenile Online Tracking System indicates that within the last ten years the applicant was adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult.22
Handgun License Application Process
Oklahoma requires the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (“OSBI”), upon receipt of a handgun license application and required information from the sheriff, to forward one full set of the applicant’s fingerprints to the FBI for a national criminal history records search.23 OSBI is directed to “make a reasonable effort to investigate the information submitted by the applicant and the sheriff, to ascertain whether or not the issuance of a handgun license” would violate Oklahoma law.24 The investigation by the Bureau of an applicant must include, but not be limited to: a statewide criminal history records search, a national criminal history records search, a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint search, and if applicable, an investigation of medical records or other records or information deemed by the Bureau to be relevant to the application.25
If the background check shows no records pertaining to the applicant, OSBI must either issue a handgun license or deny the application within 60 days of receipt of the applicant’s completed application and the required information from the county sheriff.26 In all other cases, OSBI must either issue or deny the license within 90 days of receipt of this information.27 Since 2012, Oklahoma law now also instructs OSBI to issue handgun licenses by first-class mail directly to approved applicants, instead of through local law enforcement officials.28
For detailed information on the handgun license application process and the background check procedure by OSBI, see Okla. Stat. Ann. tit., 21, §§ 1290.12, 1290.18; Okla. Admin. Code §§ 375:25-1-1—375:25-1-10. For circumstances where the OSBI may suspend or revoke a concealed handgun license, and any penalties relating to suspension or revocation, see Okla. Stat. Ann. tit., 21, § 1290.17.
Firearm Safety Training
Applicants for handgun licenses to carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun must generally complete a firearms safety and training course conducted by a registered and approved firearms instructor or from an interactive online firearms safety and training course available electronically via the Internet approved and certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.29 The applicant must further demonstrate competence and qualification with an authorized handgun of the type or types that the applicant desires to carry concealed.30
Course content shall include: a) a safety inspection of the firearm to be used by the applicant; b) instruction on handling, safety and storage; c) dynamics of ammunition and firing; d) methods or positions for firing a handgun; e) information about the criminal provisions of Oklahoma law relating to firearms; f) the requirements of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act; g) self-defense and the use of appropriate force; h) a practice shooting session; and i) a familiarization course.31
The required firearms safety and training course and the demonstration of competency and qualification shall be designed and conducted so requirements can be completed in eight hours. The instructor-to-student ratio of a course must not exceed ten students.32 Successful applicants receive a certificate of completion of the course.33
The Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) is required to establish criteria for approving firearms instructors for training and qualifying individuals for a concealed handgun license.34 Such applicants must attend a state-authorized firearms instructor school and complete a course of a minimum of 16 hours that qualifies the person to provide instruction on revolvers, semiautomatic pistols, or both.35
Duration & Renewal
A handgun license is generally valid for a period of five years.36 Since November 1, 2007, license applicants or renewal applicants have had the option of making their license valid for a period of 10 years if they pay an additional fee at the time of application.37
A license may be renewed any time within 90 days prior to its expiration date.38 Applicants have three years from the expiration of the license to comply with the renewal requirements, however.39 To renew the license, a licensee must complete the renewal form, attach two current passport size photographs, and submit an $85 renewal fee. Upon receiving the renewal application, OSBI conducts a background check, except generally is not required to conduct a fingerprint check for license renewals. If the applicant does not fall into any prohibited category, OSBI issues a renewal license.40
State law requires OSBI to deny a renewal application if the person’s license is subject to being suspended or revoked or previously has been suspended or revoked by OSBI. State law authorizes individuals whose handgun licenses have been suspended or revoked to qualify for a new license starting 5 years after the date of suspension or revocation but they must comply with the requirements for a new license application instead of a license renewal.41
Disclosure or Use of Information
OSBI is required to maintain an automated listing of all persons issued a handgun license, as well as all suspended or revoked licenses, along with any forms, photographs, fingerprints and other such information on each applicant/licensee.42 This information is only available to a law enforcement officer or agency upon request for law enforcement purposes.43
Each year, OSBI must submit a statistical report for the preceding calendar year to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, including, but not limited to, data on the numbers of handgun licenses approved and issued and the numbers of licenses suspended, revoked or denied in the following categories: age, sex, race, county and any other category deemed relevant by the Bureau.44
Oklahoma recognizes any valid concealed or unconcealed carry weapons permit or license issued by another state.45
“Any person entering [Oklahoma] in possession of a firearm authorized for concealed or unconcealed carry upon the authority and license of another state is authorized to continue to carry a concealed or unconcealed firearm and license in [Oklahoma]; provided the license from the other state remains valid. The firearm must either be carried unconcealed or concealed from detection and view, and upon coming in contact with any peace officer of this state, the person must disclose the fact that he or she is in possession of a concealed or unconcealed firearm pursuant to a valid concealed or unconcealed carry weapons permit or license issued in another state.”46
Additionally, since 2012, Oklahoma has also authorized firearm owners residing in nonpermitting carry states to carry a concealed firearm in Oklahoma provided they are authorized for concealed carry upon the authority of a nonpermitted carry state and are otherwise in compliance with the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act. The person must carry the firearm fully concealed from detection and view, and upon coming in contact with any peace officer of Oklahoma, the person must disclose the fact that he or she is in possession of a concealed firearm pursuant to the nonpermitting laws of the state in which he or she is a legal resident.47
Any person age 21 or older who possesses a valid firearm license from another state may apply for an Oklahoma handgun license immediately upon establishing a residence in Oklahoma.48
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- 2019 OK HB 2597.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1277.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1278.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.2(A)(2).
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(13).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.9.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.10.
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(B).
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 43A, § 1-101 et seq.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 60 et seq.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.11.
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 43A, § 5-410.
- See Okla. Stat Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.10.
- See Okla. Admin. Code § 375:25-1-5.2 for details regarding the physician’s statement.
- The certified statement option was provided through legislation enacted in 2021. See 2021 OK HB 1630, Sec. 6 (amending Okla. Stat Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.11(A)(6).
- As authorized by Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 60 et seq.
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1173.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 60 et seq.
- Okla. Stat. Ann tit. 21, § 644.
- Okla. Stat Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.11(A)(11) (enacted by 2021 OK HB 1630).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(12)(b).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(10).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(12).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(13).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.12(A)(13).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §§ 1290.12(A)(2), 1290.14(A).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.14(E).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.14(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.5(A).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.5(C).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.5(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.5(B), (C).
- See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §§ 1290.11(A)(11); 1290.5(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 1290.13.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1290.16.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit, 21, § 1290.26.
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit, 21, § 1290.26(A).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit, 21, § 1290.26(B).
- Okla. Stat. Ann. tit, 21, § 1290.26(C).