- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation issued fewer handgun licenses last year than during the previous two years, according to agency records.

There were 40,466 licenses to carry a handgun issued last year, which was down from the 44,811 issued in 2014, the records show. Both figures paled in comparison to the 60,628 issued in 2013, which was the first full year license-holders could carry openly, The Oklahoman reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1QsCcjN ). Previously, permits allowed only concealed-carry handguns.

Applicants are required to complete a firearms safety and training course, and the state recently approved the first online provider. Applicants who complete the online course will still be required to demonstrate firearm competency at a gun range, said Felicia Jackson, administrative programs officer for the OSBI. The Legislature approved online firearms training in 2015.

Of the licenses approved last year, 13,456 went to women and 27,010 went to men. The average age of license-holders is 49.

Additionally, the OSBI rejected 580 applications for failing to meet the requirements. The most common reason for denial was making a false or misleading statement on the application. Seventy-six licenses were revoked and 371 were suspended.

There are now more than 238,300 Oklahomans with active licenses to carry handguns, according to the OSBI. Licenses are good for either five or 10 years.

Generally, applicants are ineligible if they have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, or adjudicated delinquent or mentally incompetent. Licensees must be at least 21 years old.

Nationally, there are 12.8 million concealed handgun permit-holders, representing 5.2 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to a report released July 13 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, a nonprofit that researches gun laws.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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