Oklahoma's Concealed-Carry Law, Does It Apply To Private Buildings?
Headlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma have been reporting a deadly shooting that took place in a Walgreens and is causing questions to be raised about Oklahoma's concealed-carry laws. How does the law apply when a person is inside a private building? Do the same concealed-carry laws apply if the owner of the property has specified otherwise?
The simple answer to that is yes and no, are you ready for the complicated one? Essentially, there is enough leeway between various laws such as trespass laws that could intersect with accomplishing the same thing as a policy that prohibits carrying firearms in a building. While there may be no statute, no penal code, or no signed order from a judge, the Walgreens owner's policy doesn't mean anything.
But, if the policy prohibits firearms then were remains loopholes to enforce that policy despite it not being a matter of law. A business owner may choose to refuse service to someone, something which is their legal right and so this may be used against a person bringing a firearm in the building even though it's against building policy but isn't the law.
The general manager of 2A Shooting Center said that a Walgreens clerk shot and killed an upset customer on Wednesday. The manager's position is that the clerk did not break the law. Eric Fuson said, "There is not a state law that prevents you from carrying a concealed carry firearm. It is simply that policy of the private owner."
Here is another interesting example of the same conundrum playing out in a different scenario. Here, a YouTuber who performs public audits of police and government property is told he is not allowed to bring his cell phone into the building. The YouTuber asks the officer if there is a judge's order that is signed and available in public records that specifically prohibits bringing a cellphone into that building or if it is merely the wishes of the judge?
The YouTube is told that the policy of no cell phones beyond this point is a matter of a judge's order. He immediately requests a copy of that order and he is told by the officer that he would have to go to the public records office, and so he does that when he describes that he is seeking a signed copy of a judge's order the women sitting beyond the counter start laughing.
They evade his questions by misdirecting the topic or steering the subject towards something else such as offering "to hold onto" his phone for him while he goes inside. His final words with the county clerks are, "So you are telling me there is no signed copy of a judges order telling me I can't bring my phone into this building and that it is only the judge's personal words which made that policy?"
The lady behind the clerk's desk says she is not aware of any such form to which the live streaming YouTube responds, thank you that is all I needed to hear and begins striding back towards the cops who lied to him in the first place. When he confronts them about the fact that the records department has no knowledge of such order the officer changes his story to refer to a "verbal order'. So why did he sent him down the hall to the records department if it were a verbal order?
Walgreen's policy says no employees are allowed to carry weapons, whether they are concealed or not, on the property. Oklahoma's Self-Defense Act does state that there are certain places where it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon. "There are obviously some places you can't carry a concealed firearm even with the license beyond TSA checkpoints at airports, federal buildings, some professional sporting events," Fuson said.
During the shooting at Walgreens, two others were injured including a Walgreens employee and a nearby customer. The customer has been cleared and released by the hospital while the employee who was shot in the chest remains in the hospital Friday night. Should a private business be allowed to enforce building policy that overrules federal and state law legally?