‘Constitutional carry’ now in effect since Monday, June 13; Ohioans may conceal carry a handgun without a license

MIAMI COUNTY — Ohio Senate Bill 215, also known as the Permitless Carry or Constitutional Carry bill, came into effect on Monday, June 13, after being signed into law by Republican Governor Mike DeWine on March 14.

The law eliminates the requirement for a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed handgun for any qualifying adult.

The bill defines a qualifying adult as any person who is 21 years of age or older, not legally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm (under federal or state law), legally living in the United States, and not a fugitive from justice.

In addition, the law modifies the duty to notify law enforcement of a concealed handgun. Qualifying adults carrying a concealed handgun must notify law enforcement if asked but no longer have a duty to before such time. Failure to comply with duty to notify has been reclassified from a first-degree misdemeanor to a second-degree misdemeanor.

Although the license to carry a concealed handgun is no longer necessary, it is still strongly encouraged.

“I would still encourage residents to obtain a C.C.W. license from their local Sheriff’s Office. By doing so, it offers eight hours of training (six classroom and two on shooting range) and also affords them the ability to travel and carry concealed in many states that are reciprocal to and recognize Ohio’s C.C.W. licensing,” said Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak.

Applicable laws still apply to concealed handguns.

In a press release, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office reiterated, “deadly weapons are still prohibited in buildings within which a courthouse is located, such as the Miami County Safety Building and Courthouse. Ohio law section 2923.123 still makes it a felony crime to bring in or have a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance in a courthouse or into another building in which a courtroom is located, except for law enforcement officers in their official duties.”

Private businesses and organizations still have the authority to prohibit concealed weapons on their property and any area that is currently a no-carry zone such as: schools, government facilities, detention centers, airports, and all posted locations, will remain so.

With respect to the changes in duty to notify, Duchak noted, “We have instructed deputies to get in the habit of asking that question on stops/calls. With that being said, we always assume everyone we come into contact may be armed.”

Proponents of the bill included the National Rifle Association, Buckeye Firearms Association, and the Firearms Policy Coalition.

They argued in committee that FBI crime data in states where it was available showed, “that there has been no negative impact on public safety. The five states for which we are talking are Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, and Maine.”

They also argue that the policy is not uncommon and makes carrying a concealed weapon a right instead of a privilege.

Opponents of the bill were numerous in committee hearings. Notable opponents included: the Ohio Mayors Alliance, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Students Demand Action, Students for Gun Legislation, and the League of Women Voters.

The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police stated, “We feel the changes in the bill create a threat to officer safety.” Citing the removal of duty to notify as creating an “incredibly confusing and dangerous practice.”

“By essentially eliminating the concealed handgun license, the number of individuals carrying concealed handguns will undoubtedly increase. And with that increase of individuals who have not had any training, have not been subject to background check, and can avoid a suspension or revocation by a sheriff, will officers be faced with more gun violence?” asked the Order.

Ohio joins 24 other states that allow permitless carry, and Indiana will soon follow with its own new law taking effect July 1.