A Step In The Right Direction

Late Thursday night the Ohio House of Representatives amended SB 199 and passed it by a vote of 68-25.  SB 199 is the bill that contains amended language from HB 48.  Now the bill heads to Governor Kasich’s desk where it is likely to be signed into law.  I see it as a victory, but only a partial victory, as one key issue of HB 48 was neutered.  Here is the synopsis of SB 199.

The bill would allow active duty military to carry a concealed handgun without having to obtain an Ohio CHL, provided they had their military ID, and paperwork from their command showing firearm training proficiency.  This right is even extended to those who would not otherwise be able to even obtain a CHL due to their age.  The military accepts and trains men and women as young as 18, yet in Ohio, it is prohibited to own a handgun under the age of 21.

SB 199 changed the language in HB 48 in two substantial ways.  First, it removed language that would have made concealed handgun owners a ‘protected class’ when it comes to employer discrimination.  Instead, the language in SB 199 made a rule which prohibits employers from adopting a policy that would ban firearms in an employee’s personal vehicle.  This would hope to keep employees from being fired solely on the grounds that they possess a firearm in their vehicle.  Secondly, and more importantly, the language regarding carrying in government buildings was watered down.  HB 48 read that CHL carriers could carry in any government building that did ‘security personnel and security screening measures’, something that makes sense.  In the approved SB 199 the language just allows for the political subdivision to choose if they wish to lift the ban.

SB 199 did maintain the core of HB 48, including allowing the carrying of a firearm in a private airplane.  Changing the blanket prohibition making it a felony to carry at a daycare facility.  Current Ohio Law allows grade schools to authorize individuals to carry concealed firearms.  SB 199 will allow colleges and universities to adopt their own rules when it comes to prohibition of CHL’s on campus.  

Overall SB 199 is a step in the right direction for Ohio CHL carriers.  It is yet to be signed into law, but passing the Senate and House is a good sign.  Keep an eye out to see what ultimately happens with this bill.

Here is a link to the complete SB 199


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