Open and Obvious Carrying of Firearms in Oklahoma Make My Day

In the old west it was not necessary to conceal one’s firearm.   Gamblers, card sharps and crooks  had a need to conceal carry their tiny derringers.  It was very difficult to conceal a Colt Navy Dragoon Six Shooter.  After hundreds of years of so called civilization, the law has permitted the honest citizen to conceal and carry a firearm under strict guidelines.  Presently, the Oklahoma Legislature passed the “Make My Day” laws allowing residents/homeowners to protect their homes against all invaders.  Last year the Oklahoma Legislature passed the “Make My Day” law for the benefit of business owners.  A business owner does not have to hide from a trespassing aggressor and may stand his ground and fight off an attack by thugs or criminals with the full blessing of the local district attorney.

There are pitfalls and caveats.  A recent article published by the Daily Oklahoman shows that there may be some danger in shooting an intruder.  Recent developments in the Ersland Case would be instructive.  Check out the news story:

Some seek expansion of state ‘Make My Day’ law

 By SEAN MURPHY    Comment on this article 0

Published: January 30, 2012

Following a series of high-profile shootings deemed justified under the state’s “Make My Day” law, some lawmakers are looking to expand the state’s gun laws to allow citizens to defend themselves beyond just their homes.



Last week, a Midwest City man shot and killed an armed burglar who had broken into the man’s duplex. The shooting, which was deemed justifiable, came less than a month after a young widow gunned down an intruder inside her Blanchard mobile home.The law, nicknamed after the line by Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty” Harry Callahan character in the 1983 film “Sudden Impact,” was expanded last year to allow the use of deadly force by business owners or employees. It currently applies to those who have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm” after someone illegally enters their home or business.

This year, lawmakers are looking to expand the protections the law provides to include people who may enter a business peacefully but with “violent intent.”

Supporters say several recent high-profile cases underscore the importance of the law.

On New Year’s Eve, a young widow armed with a shotgun and a pistol gunned down a knife-wielding intruder at her rural Blanchard mobile home in a shooting Grady County prosecutors said was clearly justified under the law. It also was cited after a shooting Thursday in which a Midwest City resident shot and killed an armed invader who broke into his duplex.

“This is the third shooting in the last 15 months where a homeowner or resident has killed a suspect trying to unlawfully enter their home,” Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said after the shooting. “The Oklahoma ‘Make My Day’ law is doing what it was exactly designed to do — allow our law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves from immediate danger while in the security of their home.”


With a colorful state history that includes hardscrabble pioneer settlers with the lawless days of the wild West, the use of firearms to protect one’s home and family is interwoven into the fabric of Oklahoma society.

“Just look at the thieves, outlaws, vagabonds and gangsters that have seeded Oklahoma’s history,” said state Sen. Steve Russell, an Oklahoma City Republican who has been a fierce proponent of expanding gun rights. “We understand the need to protect ourselves, as do these innocent victims who had to kill these criminals as they burst into their homes.”

Russell says he intends to push this year for fewer restrictions on those who can purchase a concealed carry permit and an “open carry” bill that will allow law abiding citizens over the age of 21 to openly carry a firearm.

Don Spencer, who teaches classes that are required to obtain a concealed carry permit, said students frequently ask about the state’s “Make My Day” law.

“Most people are curious about the point at which it’s absolute that they can defend themselves,” said Spencer, who is also the deputy director of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. “Obviously, if the Girl Scouts appear on your door step, you don’t have the right to blow them away.

“But if a guy tries to kick down your door, absolutely you do.”

Spencer said his organization offered a free class to the Blanchard widow, 18-year-old Sarah Dawn McKinley, who was at her rural home with her 3-month-old son on New Year’s Eve when an intruder broke into her home. Authorities suspect the intruder, 24-year-old Justin Shane Martin, was looking for prescription drugs he believed belonged to McKinley’s late husband.

McKinley, who was armed with a small-caliber pistol and a shotgun, fired the shotgun as Martin burst through the door.

“She’s been through a lot, and I have a lot of respect for that young lady,” Spencer said.

And while McKinley’s case was a relatively simple one for prosecutors to determine justified, that’s not always the case, said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

“Those are the easiest calls, because the stranger obviously brought the threat to the homeowner who was there,” Mashburn said. “But each case is different.

“It may be a true situation where it’s one defending their home, but you have to look at if it’s someone they had an argument with earlier in the day, or if there’s a prior relationship or bad blood. That could fuel it, and sometimes makes us skeptical.”

Oklahoma also has a so-called “Stand Your Ground” law that applies outside of the home and allows people to meet force with force, even deadly force, if they feel their life is threatened. And Mashburn said those cases can be even more difficult to determine, especially if one of the parties is killed.

“You have to look at all the surrounding circumstances and see what happened,” he said. “You have to really turn it inside out and look at it from every angle.”

Criminals also are familiar with state law and can often tailor their story to investigators to cover up a killing.

“We’ve even had situations where people try to bait someone to come over to their house and then claim ‘Make My Day,’” Mashburn said.

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This entry was posted in Business Law, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Probate. Bookmark the permalink.

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