Guthrie Open Carry Wrap-Up

Over the last few years since OK2A was founded, we’ve had several circumstances in which local governments were in clear violation of state preemption laws concerning firearms and the right of the people to bear arms brought to our attention.  We are currently dealing with two such situations: one in Tulsa and the second in Guthrie (more on Tulsa next week).

The situation in Guthrie was fast-moving and required action be taken quickly. They had implemented a ban on the carrying of firearms during a city festival.  Sterling Johnson, OK2A’s Logan County Coordinator and a member of OK2A’s Board of Governors, had conversations with the Logan County Sheriff and the Guthrie Police Chief, as well as several deputies and police officers, concerning this overreach.  The Guthrie Police Department continued to state that anyone carrying a weapon would be arrested and have their handgun confiscated – both actions would clearly violate state law.

Saturday, Sterling led a small group of activists in an effort to call the city’s hand.  After encountering several Guthrie Police officers while carrying unconcealed handguns (one of those encounters was with the Police Chief himself), no arrests were made.  In fact, they didn’t even question them or even ask to see anyone’s permit and no one’s handgun was confiscated.  Could this be because the police officers knew that would, in fact, violate the law and leave the city open for a massive lawsuit?  When citizens understand their rights and stand up for those rights, it makes a difference.

There are a couple of “take aways” from Saturday. First, just a small group can make a difference in the face of government overreach.  Several people emailed us lamenting the fact that, because of the short notice, they couldn’t be there to participate.  We appreciate those that were there “in spirit.”  And it would have been great to have had 100 people there in person, but often a handful will do.  In this situation, that handful of activists kept a city government from steamrolling over the rights of the people.

Second, it is important that people know their rights.  How many people would have walked into that festival, leaving their handgun in car and themselves unprotected, just because someone with a badge said they had to?  Don’t misunderstand me.  I have a great deal of respect for peace officers.  But a badge does not trump the law.  The handful of officers that would tarnish the reputation of their entire profession by disrespecting the unalienable rights of the people need to be called on the carpet.  Sterling and his handful of activists did just that…and won!  Kudos to Sterling and the Logan County chapter!

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