According to the Dayton Daily News, as the state’s number of concealed carry permits rises, so does the desire to loosen restrictions on concealed weapons. Ohio was later than other states, only passing concealed carry legislation in 2004. But since that time 296,588 people have obtained permits to carry a hidden weapon, and more are seeking permission every day.
Since the original law was passed, restrictions have been eased slightly, allowing permit holders to take their weapons into restaurants and bars. Though law enforcement originally opposed these changes, they now say that no negative fall-out has occurred since the laws were loosened. But, with five new bills pending, they are concerned lawmakers might take things too far.
Currently, there are five pieces of legislation in the Ohio General Assembly concerning concealed weapons. Those include a bill that would allow permit holders to have their weapons in state-owned parking garages, one that would expand the system for recognizing out of state permits, loosen permit renewal requirements, eliminate background checks and safety training courses, and eliminate a current requirement to inform law enforcement of your weapon.
Of particular concern are two bills. The first would eliminate the background check requirements and eliminate the safety training courses. The other would do away with the current requirement that any concealed weapons permit holder has to inform the police that they have a weapon when being pulled over.
Even gun-rights advocates and permit-holders are opposed to these measures. They want to ensure that the image of concealed weapons permit holders isn’t tarnished and with these proposed bills, it raises the likelihood that such a weapon could fall into the wrong hands.
Dayton Police Chief, the Montgomery County Sheriff, and the Miami County Sheriff have all voiced opposition to these two bills (HB 256 and HB 422 respectively). “Those two are bad law in a significant way,” says Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.
The majority of CCW permit holders value gun safety and the checks that are in place to ensure only those with clean criminal histories and knowledge of weapons safety are permitted to carry a concealed weapon.
“If you get in a shootout and people aren’t overly trained on accuracy, you are going to have bullets flying all over the place,” said one CCW permit holder interviewed at a shooting range.
These same law enforcement heads have said they will oppose any Stand-Your-Ground legislation, should it be brought up in the Ohio Legislature. They believe such laws, like the one frequently associated with the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida, do nothing but encourage lawlessness and violence.
The gun laws of Ohio are relatively strict. If you are accused of violating them, you can expect to face serious penalties. Whether you are a permit holder or not, you could be sent to jail for violating weapons laws.