By Steve Olafson
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law on Tuesday a bill that will allow Oklahomans to openly carry guns if they pass a criminal background check and take firearms training.
Fallin, a Republican, said the new law "sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property."
Oklahoma already issues licenses that allowed citizens to carry concealed weapons if they pass a criminal background check and undergo training.
The new law, which goes into effect November 1, expands the rights of permit-holders to openly carry guns and also allows citizens to carry firearms, either openly or concealed, without a license if they are on their own property.
Oklahoma becomes the 25th state with either "permissive open carry" laws (no permit required) or "licensed open carry" (permit required), according to the governor's office.
It joins Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Massachusetts as a "licensed open carry" state.
Businesses in Oklahoma may continue to ban firearms from their premises under the new law, which also prohibits the carrying of firearms on properties owned or leased by the city, state or federal government, at corrections facilities, in schools or college campuses, liquor stores and at sports arenas during sporting events.
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Lisa Shumaker)