By Erik Martin
DARKE COUNTY — With the stroke of a pen, Ohio became the 23rd state to enact Constitutional Carry.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 215 — sponsored by Ohio Sen. Terry Johnson — into law Monday. The new law makes it legal for Ohio residents 21 years of age and older to carry a concealed handgun without a license in Ohio.
Ohio joins 22 other states with Constitutional Carry, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
“This is a day that will go down in history,” said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association. “It has been about 18 years since Ohio enacted HB 12 to bring licensed concealed carry to the state.
“However, the brass ring has always been to eliminate the licensing mandate, which people refer to as permitless carry or Constitutional Carry. And now, finally, that day is here. This is a great moment for Ohio and for those who wish to more fully exercise their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
“Gov. DeWine made a campaign promise to Buckeye Firearms Association and to Ohio’s 4 million gun owners that he would sign a Constitutional Carry bill if it was put on his desk. And he has fulfilled his promise,” Rieck added.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded DeWine for signing Senate Bill 215.
“Any right requiring a fee or government permission slip isn’t much of a right at all. That’s why the NRA worked tirelessly with state leaders and legislators to pass this landmark legislation in Ohio,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director. “The NRA commends Gov. DeWine for signing this important piece of legislation that protects the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Buckeyes.”
The new law makes several important changes. First, obtaining a concealed handgun license will become optional, so those able to legally carry a concealed handgun with a license will also be able to carry without a license.
Concealed carriers will no longer have to promptly notify every law enforcement officer of their armed status during an official stop. Carriers need only disclose they are carrying a concealed handgun only when an officer asks, unless the carrier has already notified another officer.
Those wishing to obtain a concealed handgun license will no longer be required to carry the license on their person. Those wishing to obtain a license in Ohio or in other states with reciprocity agreements may continue to do so.
Some restrictions will still apply. For example, persons legally prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law may not possess or carry a firearm under any circumstances. As well, carriers may not take concealed weapons onto certain properties, such as government buildings or schools.
Jerry Baker of Ludlow Falls, Ohio, an NRA- and USCCA-certified concealed carry instructor for 16 years, said he is glad the measure passed, but maintains some concerns.
“I think its great the fee is no longer there, but I also believe that people need some sort of training,” he explained. “I’ve taught thousands of people over the years and it’s amazing the number of people in the classes that have never held a gun in their life until the day of class.”
“I don’t care if the sheriff’s department gives the classes for free. It’s not about money, its about people having the knowledge to handle them properly,” Baker added. “You’re not going to give your car keys to your 16-year-old kid without some sort of training involved and I look at it the same way as carrying a firearm.”
“Even as an adult you can’t get a hunting license in Ohio without taking a course. The State of Ohio has volunteers that teach hunter’s ed free of charge. I think the state should either have sheriff’s departments or even the people that sell the firearms provide some kind of instruction.”
Baker reiterated his belief that all gun owners can benefit from training.
“Please get some kind of instruction from somebody before carrying a firearm. Learn the rules of gun safety. If I don’t make another dime on this, that’s fine.” he said.
The law goes into effect June 13, 2022.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Erik Martin, email [email protected].