Sheriff Duchak explains concealed carry laws

TROY — Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak visited the Miami Valley Veterans’ Museum (MVVM) on Wednesday, Sept. 7, explaining recent changes to Ohio’s concealed carry laws at a special veterans’ breakfast to honor area first responders.

“On June 14, Ohio went to constitutional carry,” Duchak said. “If you are age 21 or older, don’t have any felony convictions, don’t have any mental health stints in the hospital where you’ve been adjudicated as some type of mental health issue, or certain drug offenses, you can carry concealed in Ohio without a permit.”

The new regulations also changed previous requirements for when citizens must inform law enforcement officers if they are carrying a concealed weapon; under the new state law, citizens are only required to inform law enforcement officers about a concealed weapon if they ask.

“You used to have to tell them,” Duchak said. “They changed that.”

“I think that was good, because it kind of de-escalated, if the officer would happen to see a gun or something,” Duchak continued. “I think it’s better to announce it.”

Other recent changes to the law also allow for the carrying of loaded pistols or revolvers in a car.

“In Ohio, you can carry concealed in your vehicle,” Duchak said. “You can have the firearm on you; you can have it loaded with ammunition in there, with a pistol or revolver. If it’s a rifle, shotgun or long gun, you have to have the stock open and the ammunition separate either in the trunk or locked in the glove box.”

“It doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what the law is,” he said. “You can have it in your pistol, but for a long gun you have to have the ammunition separate.”

Duchak said he still recommends people get the CCW permit, for several reasons.

”I would still encourage people to get a permit,” he said. “There are some benefits. Ohio has reciprocity with 33 or 34 states now, so if you have that permit, you can carry legally in other states.”

All 88 county sheriffs still offer the permit, and in Ohio CCW permits are free for first responders, active military, retired military and those with an honorable discharge. Permit holders are also allowed to bypass the background check when purchasing firearms. “It depends on the vendor, but if you have a CCW permit in Ohio you don’t have to wait for a background check to purchase a firearm,” Duchak said.

Law enforcement officers are not all in favor of the new regulations.

“I consider myself a constitutional sheriff,” Duchak said. “I’m pro-second amendment,” he said. I didn’t think that was a big hurdle, to get a permit.”

Duchak predicts an increase in concealed carry offenses, due to the changes.

“In Miami County, we average annually three or four people who apply for the permits and are disqualified because they had some kind of disqualifying criminal offense that they had either forgotten about or they didn’t think it was disqualifying,” he said. “Statewide, the average was 2,000, so there’s going to be some people who think they can carry legally when they’re under some type of weapons disability, who really should not be.

“We think that we’ll see a little bit of an increase in carrying concealed weapon offenses, and possibly carrying under disability offenses as well,” he said.

“I don’t make the laws; we just enforce what our representatives tell us,” Duchak continued. “They don’t listen to us a lot. There has been a lot of criminal justice legislation that law enforcement has been against in Ohio; they continue to lessen the penalties on a lot of things. I’ve kind of gotten used to them not listening to us.”

Duchak also discussed Ohio’s open carry laws. “Ohio’s been an open carry state for fifty years, or longer than that,” he said. “Most people don’t do that, thankfully. It brings alarm to people when they see that.”

“You see it once in a while, but thankfully we haven’t had any issues,” he said. “As long as they’re not doing anything, in Ohio it’s legal to open carry, be it a rifle or pistol.”

After Duchak’s presentation, the MVVM went on to hold a brief ceremony honoring local first responders, featuring additional comments from museum officials and local police and fire chiefs.

“We’re here to honor our first responders,” MVVM curator John Bankowitz said. “They are the ones who run into the fray, not away from the fray.”

The veterans’ breakfasts are a regular monthly event, hosted by the museum; more information can be found online at www.miamivalleyveteransmuseum.org, or by calling 937-332-8852.

Breakfast was provided by the Miami County Veterans’ Service Office.

“We’d like to thank the Miami County Veterans’ Service Office,” Bankowitz said. “They’ve provided the food and drinks, and they do that every month for us.”

More information on Ohio’s concealed carry laws can be found at www.miamicountyohio.gov/sheriff

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.