Senate Bill 81, which changed the criteria for veterans, active and reserve military in obtaining an Ohio Concealed Carry Handgun License, went into effect on Nov. 5, 2018. The legislation was first introduced in the Ohio Senate on March 2, 2017. It was then referred to committee on March 7, 2017. The bill came back out of committee on Dec. 6, 2017, with no amendments or changes.
The Ohio Senate voted on and passed it on Jan. 17, 2018. Senate Bill 81 was then introduced in the Ohio House on Jan. 18, 2018. The House referred it to committee on Jan. 24, 2018. It was returned back to the House from committee on March 22, 2018. The Ohio House voted on and passed the legislation on June 27, 2018. Most legislation takes time as it is extensively studied, debated, and testimony for and against is presented by individuals and groups that are invited by the legislature.
The bill generally requires a sheriff who receives an initial or renewal application for a concealed handgun license to waive the payment of the license fee for applicants who have retired from or were honorably discharged from military service, or are in the active or reserve armed forces of the United States. The bill also requires the sheriff to transmit a notice to the attorney general, in a manner determined by the attorney general, every time a fee is waived under this provision. The attorney general must monitor the fees waived and inform sheriffs if the total amount of fees waived under this provision reaches or exceeds $1.5 million. If a sheriff has received notice that the annual waiver limit has been met, the sheriff may not waive the payment of the license fee for the remainder of that year.
Applicants for a concealed handgun license who have retired from or have been honorably discharged from military service must submit evidence of their military service as proof of competency regardless of the date the applicant retired or was honorably discharged. Generally, your DD-214 is proof of service, discharge status and weapons qualification.
The bill removes the requirement that an applicant for a concealed handgun license who has retired from or has been honorably discharged from military service, in the active or reserve armed forces of the United States, have retired or been honorably discharged within the 10 years immediately preceding the application for the applicant to be exempt from the additional firearms training requirements of the Concealed Carry Law.
Instead, an applicant who has retired from or has been honorably discharged from such military service at any time prior to the application is not required to undergo any additional training, provided that the applicant can provide the applicant’s firearms competency certification.
There is criteria concerning conceal carry that must still be met. An appointment to apply for a concealed carry license must be made with the sheriff’s department. Appointment may be selected and scheduled on the sheriff’s web site. If you do not have Internet access, you may call the sheriff’s concealed carry office to schedule an appointment. The application form for concealed carry must be filled out. If you cannot print one from the web site, you may fill one out at the time of your appointment. Two passport photos must be provided. If you cannot get a passport photo, the concealed carry office will take them, for a fee. Fingerprinting and full BCI background check are still requirements. The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office accepts the State Veterans Identification card as proof of service and weapons qualification, as it is a record of your DD-214 recorded at the Delaware County Recorder’s Office. The ID card may be obtained through the Recorder’s Office when you file your DD-214 with them (or if you already filed it in the past).
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office web site is a good starting point for required information. Go to sheriff.co.delaware.oh.us/concealed-carry/ for the concealed carry application, requirements on what you need to take with you, and contact information to the sheriff department’s concealed carry office.
Contacts at the concealed carry office are Tim Dye, concealed carry coordinator, and Megan Hughes, CHL specialist. I find them both to be courteous, helpful, and easy to work with. If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed for you on the web site, they are excellent resources to answer your questions. Tim can be reached at 740-833-2801; Megan can be reached at 740-833-2801, or email the office at email@example.com. Sheriff Martin and the entire sheriff’s office fully support, honor and respect veterans.
Even though the qualification certification requirement is waived for veterans, firearms safety is still a priority. You may want to consider taking a safety or conceal carry course, even though they are not a requirement. There are concealed carry instructors that will provide training for veterans at no cost. I do not have specific information on them, but they are out there. Regular practice and familiarity with your firearms is always a good thing for any gun owner.
Full compliance with Ohio’s concealed carry laws is a requirement for all concealed carriers. You can download a PDF version of the concealed carry brochure form the Ohio Attorney General’s web site. This brochure does not contain all the veteran waiver information. There is a brief paragraph on the waiver of qualification requirements. It does contain all current conceal carry laws, requirements and compliance information. I would highly recommend you obtain a copy of the brochure. The link is ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Concealed-Carry.
Your firearm is a tool that must be maintained and used correctly at all times. You should use a handgun that you are comfortable carrying concealed and are proficient at using. Practice regularly in order to maintain your efficiency and consistency with drawing and firing of your handgun. If you fail to do any of these, you may put yourself or others at risk. Concealed carry is for self-defense and protection of you, your family and property. As Sheriff Martin and others point out, maintain situational awareness at all times. Ohio is an open carry state and always has been since its constitution was adopted. Concealed carry is more discreet and generally safer for you in a public environment.
Harold B. Wolford is president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1095. He served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973. Wolford can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.