My fellow Oklahomans and I are aware that Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the so-called “permitless carry” bill Feb. 28, which allows Oklahoma residents 21, and veterans 18 and older, to carry firearms without a permit, background check or training. The law takes effect on Nov. 1. This was the first item Stitt signed into law.

As a safe and sensible firearms owner with a handgun license, I thought I would weigh in. I will not take sides on this law. The lines are drawn and the law is signed, and opinions about this law are very inflexible. As I hope I often do, I want to offer some sanity outside of the rhetoric.

If you want to carry a firearm, get some training. I don’t mean go to the river and empty your grandfather’s .357 into a paint can. I mean you should get some real, vetted training that includes force-on-force encounters, and at least some elements of how the law regards deadly force encounters. The training my wife and I were required to receive to get our permits wasn’t useful. No one came out of that class more knowledgeable about the real world of self-defense, since the class was legally required to hit certain points and was left to ignore others.

The shooting portion of our permit class might have been the weakest part of it all. We were all asked to shoot 50 rounds at paper targets at an indoor range. No, that was not a typo. Shooting 50 rounds at paper is equivalent to backing a car out of the driveway to get your driver’s license.

Some of the people in our class had no business handling a firearm because of their inexperience or ineptitude, while others had no business handling a firearm due to their arrogance or violent inclinations, yet all of them passed the class.

Carrying a firearm isn’t about being a hero or a vigilante. One person in the back of our classroom would occasionally mutter, “I’m only gonna need one shot,” which is not only demonstrably untrue (watch some videos of trained police in deadly force encounters), it also has an air of the desire to kill. If you carry a firearm hoping to one day kill a bad guy, you are carrying for the wrong reason, and you are probably dangerous.

The internet cannot train you to shoot or to defend yourself.

Never, ever mix guns and alcohol or drugs.

Keep your guns safely away from children.

It’s never about caliber: If you can’t defend yourself with a .380, you can’t defend yourself.

My wife and I carry when it is safe and legal to do so. Know the law. When you cross a state line, you have to know a whole different set of laws. We carry with the utmost respect for what it means to possess a firearm, and we understand clearly that the use of deadly force only comes as a very last resort.

Your best options for self-protection are avoidance, deterrence and de-escalation.

I expect I will have more thoughts on this as it develops.