With the passage and implementation of Senate Bill 215 on June 13, Ohio became the country’s 23rd state to allow permitless carry of a concealed handgun.
Commonly referred to as “constitutional carry,” the bill eliminated the training and background check requirements once necessary for a gun owner to legally carry a concealed handgun. All Ohioans who are at least 21 years old may now carry a concealed handgun with no training or licensing requirement as long as they are legal United States residents and are legally qualified to possess a handgun.
Under the bill, carriers are also no longer obligated to promptly inform law enforcement officers of the concealed handgun unless first asked by the officer.
While residents have now been emboldened to make the choice for themselves, local law enforcement leaders are encouraging those who wish to carry to continue benefiting from the training courses that were once required by law.
“I would recommend individuals still go through that training two-fold,” acting Delaware Police Chief Adam Moore told The Gazette. “One, just like any other tool that we have in life, you need to be familiar with it and know how to use it. Certainly, a firearm can be dangerous if it is misused. Knowing how to use the tool and being familiar with it are both good things for individuals who want to carry concealed to know.
“Secondly, I also think the training classes are good opportunities to go and discuss potential situations you may find yourselves in and what the laws are and what your options are. Get tips and advice about how to either remove yourself from the situation or maintain legal standing.”
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said of the importance of training, “While the training is no longer required, we always think it’s a good practice and habit to still receive the training. While it is a constitutional right, it’s a big responsibility, and we hope people take that seriously by still investing in the training prior to carrying in this fashion.”
One of the many questions arising from the passing of the permitless carry bill is the impact it may have on the jobs of law enforcement officers moving forward. Asked whether or not he believes the permitless carry law will make the jobs of his officers more difficult or dangerous moving forward, Moore said that, like any law change, the results remain to be seen.
Martin recalled the passing of the law allowing the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun and the conversations surrounding how it could potentially affect law enforcement. However, those concerns never proved to be problematic, and Martin expressed no concerns that the new law will create issues either.
“I’ve been around long enough to remember when concealed carry with a permit became a law,” he said. “Initially in law enforcement, there was some concern that it might create more problems in traffic stops or encounters with the police. But I think that over the course of time, we have realized again that most of our gun owners are responsible citizens that have created very few problems for law enforcement.”
Both Martin and Moore individually expressed hope that gun carriers will still take it upon themselves to inform law enforcement of the presence of a weapon during stops, however.
To learn more about Ohio’s new concealed carry law, visit www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.