Ohio Constitutional Carry Bill Passes Senate and House, Waits for Gov Signature

Ohio gun-owners are poised to join the ranks of 21 other states that have some form of constitutional or permitless carry law. So we’re close, but there is still work to do.

Yesterday, the House passed SB215 with a 57-35 vote, and the Senate passed it with a 24-8 vote. The bill now sits on Governor DeWine’s desk, waiting for his signature.

Will the Governor sign the bill or not? DeWine said he would sign a constitutional carry bill in the past, but he also threatened to veto our recent stand your ground law before caving to pressure.

We can’t claim victory just yet. Instead, we need to hold DeWine’s feet to the fire and let him know that gun owners in Ohio won’t let him off the hook if he stabs them in the back. Ohioans who understand the importance of the Second Amendment need to contact DeWine and tell him to sign the bill without delay!

What is in SB 215 —

The big piece of the legislation removes the license requirement for carrying a handgun concealed. Ohio does not require a license for open carry, and if DeWine signs SB215 into law, Ohioans will not need a permit to conceal a handgun either.

The licensing program will remain. Ohioans who want to carry concealed in states that recognize Ohio’s concealed carry license can still get a permit.

Problems with SB215 —

Republicans caved, and some protections of SB215 didn’t make it. The watered-down bill doesn’t go far enough in addressing the duty to notify, disqualifiers, and protections against anti-gun legal harassment.

For example, SB215 does not repeal the ridiculous duty to notify law that compels a concealed carrier to “promptly” notify a law enforcement officer that they are carrying a concealed handgun or face criminal charges and possible license revocation.

The new phrasing says:

(1) If the person is stopped for a law enforcement purpose and is carrying a concealed handgun, before or at the time a law enforcement officer asks if the person is carrying a concealed handgun, knowingly fail to promptly inform any law enforcement officer who approaches the person after the person has been stopped that the person has been issued a concealed handgun license andthat disclose that the person then is carrying a concealed handgun, provided that it is not a violation of this division if the person fails to disclose that fact to an officer during the stop and the person already has notified another officer of that fact during the same stop;

It appears as though Ohioans will still have a duty to notify, but the timing is no longer “promptly” but now “before or at the time,” the officer asks. If this bill intended to clarify the gun owner’s responsibility, I’m not so sure this accomplishes that.

Permitless carry in Ohio

The penalty for failing to notify reduces from a 1st to a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.

Another issue is that SB215 uses state of Ohio definitions and prohibitions instead of Federal ones. This may create a situation where someone can pass a federal background check to purchase a firearm but can’t legally carry concealed because Ohio has additional disqualifiers.

Legislators stripped a provision from the bill that protected gun owners from harassment. The provision included wording prohibiting law enforcement from detaining someone simply because they had a firearm.

While most law enforcement interactions are respectful and appropriate, there are incidents where pressure from anti-gun mayors, prosecutors, and chiefs affect how officers police.

In conclusion —

While the bill isn’t perfect, it is a win for gun owners because it accomplishes the goal of making the permit system optional. If DeWine signs the bill, which I suspect he will, the new law will go into effect 90 days after.

Ohio Gun Owners are not giving up and will continue to vote lawmakers out who capitulate to gun control while working with those who love freedom in passing legislation to fix the problems SB215 couldn’t.

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