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Rogers County Sheriff: Permitless open carry 'ought to be a concern to anybody'

Rogers County Sheriff
Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton

Updated 6/21 at 9:42 a.m.

A man who carried an AR-15 into an AT&T store in Broken Arrow will be arraigned in custody Tuesday.

Though the man entered a private business with multiple weapons and tactical gear, the Broken Arrow Police Department confirms he was initially arrested for jaywalking during the Jun. 13 incident.

Openly carrying a gun without a license was made legal in Oklahoma in 2019. Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin recently said permitless carry plus other lax gun laws puts police at risk.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton agrees. He said the incident in Broken Arrow frightened people for good reason.

“When you see somebody, you know, dressed like he was, walking down the road carrying a rifle, it ought to bring concern to anybody. If we can find out how many 911 calls Broken Arrow got that day, common sense would dictate yeah, there was a lot of people concerned about it, and they should have been,” said Walton.

Walton said he is a strong Second Amendment supporter but the mass shootings continuously happening in the country are a clue is something is wrong.

“In today’s world, with the recent mass shootings, all that stuff happening in Texas, the stuff at Saint Francis Hospital, it ought to be a concern to anybody. I understand the laws and theory, but I also understand reality,” said Walton.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado told Public Radio Tulsa last week he doesn’t necessarily think the ease with which guns can be acquired in Oklahoma is a risk to officers.

Update: This article was updated to reflect that Tuesday's arraignment is taking place in jail custody.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.