Bill changing Ohio's concealed carry requirements heads to governor's desk

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Posted at 12:35 AM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 23:36:22-05

CINCINNATI — Under Ohio law, people who wish to carry a concealed weapon must pass a background check, show proof of eight hours of training and 'promptly' inform officers they are carrying a concealed weapon during a stop. A bill on its way to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk would change that.

Senate Bill 215, or the Constitutional Carry Bill, eliminates the permit process to carry a concealed weapon. The only reason a person 21 or older could not carry a concealed weapon would be if state or federal law prohibits them from having a weapon.

Republican Rep. Shane Wilkin of Hillsboro said the bill will "restore the people's right to keep and bear arms," but not everyone sees it that way.

"What this House bill represents in my mind, honestly, is represents the wild, wild west," said Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey. "It puts our officer at risk. It puts one more layer onto what could be a very stressful situation for the officer."

McGuffey has been vocal in opposition while lawmakers — backed by gun-rights advocates — argue the bill is a constitutional issue.

"This legislation works," said Rob Sexton with the Buckeye Firearms Association. "It gives people their God-given right to defend themselves and their loved ones."

Sexton spoke during the House subcommittee hearing in early February, pointing to other states that have passed similar legislation and saying recent research shows no uptick in gun violence.

"(It) refuted the baseless assertions with a continued barrage of credible research that proves this is nothing more than fear-mongering," Sexton said.

Closer to home, Iris Roley with the Cincinnati Black United Front said the bill would unfairly target people of color.

"When you remove these types of accountability protocols, this will be an open season on Black people," Roley said. "The disparities that will be dropped on the Black community with these things, it'll be anarchy on multiple levels."

Rufus Johnson, CEO and founder of Real Truth Inc., is a certified CCW instructor and focuses on overall gun safety.

"There needs to be more red flags, more claws than that," Johnson said. "When you're able to buy a weapon you should be thoroughly checked to make sure you're responsible for the weapon. My biggest concern that's missing out of the whole thing, there's not enough gun safety education being taught for gun owners, young people, and business owners."

Mike Weinman, director of Governmental Affairs at the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, echoed Johnson's concerns about training.

"You got eight hours of training," Weinman said. "It's not a lot, but it was something. You at least learned the safety of the weapon and you go to learn when and where you could carry it."

Weinman said the background check, which was required every five years to renew the permit, also helped disqualify people who should not be carrying a gun.

"It's just remarkable how many people who started out law-abiding had their concealed carry (and) got disqualified for doing something they shouldn't be doing," Weinman said.

According to a report by Attorney General Dave Yost, county sheriffs issues more than 200,000 licenses last year. Nearly 3,000 were denied and 420 were revoked for issues like mental incompetence or felony conviction.

Local FOP President Dan Hils said while he does not think the government should be involved in the decision to allow someone to carry a concealed weapon, he is OK with the bill passing.

"I think the more law-abiding citizens that are armed, the better it is for society," Hils said.

A spokesperson for DeWine's office said the governor supports the Second Amendment.

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