Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (a Republican) signed Monday's bill that removed the requirement for concealed weapon carriers to have permits. This was a move that police unions claimed could place officers in danger and make Ohio "less secure."
Senate Bill 215, or "Constitutional Carry," by its supporters, will allow concealed weapons permits to be optional for legal carry aged 21 and over. It also eliminates the requirement that concealed weapons owners "promptly" inform police officers of their concealed weapons.
In three months, the new law will be in effect.
The law's opponents claim it will make Ohio less safe.
They also point out that the measure does not require conceal carry permit holders attending eight hours of training. This includes shooting practice.
"People can carry guns without any background checks and without any training. It makes Ohio less secure," stated Michael Weinman, director for government affairs at the Fraternal Orpo of Ohio.
When confronted by police officers, the law only requires that they confirm that they have a weapon. Prior to this, concealed weapon carryers were required by law to disclose that information. According to law, police will need to question concealed weapon carriers and lying about concealing weapons will be a misdemeanor crime.
Tom Austin, the executive director of Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said that putting the burden on police over a concealed weapon's holder will increase traffic stops and put officers in danger.
We are not here to give an opinion about the Second Amendment or the right of concealed weapons. Austin stated that it was reasonable to expect people to inform law enforcement, particularly in this climate, that they are carrying concealed weapons.
DeWine signed the bill, he said.
A spokesperson for DeWine declined to comment Tuesday.
Republican state senator Terry Johnson from Scioto County introduced the bill. He stated that it removes an inconsistency in Ohio law which currently allows openly carrying of a gun. The bill was passed earlier this month by Ohio's GOP-controlled legislature.
Gun owners may still apply for concealed weapons permits under the legislation. This allows gun owners to conceal a weapon in states that have reciprocity agreements.
According to the Buckeye Firearms Association, 21 states permit concealed weapons carry without requiring a license. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun control group, opposed the bill.
According to the Ohio Democratic Party, the governor was accused of giving in "to special interests groups and extremists".
According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Ohio sheriffs issued 202920 conceal carry licenses last year. This is a 20% increase on 2020. Sheriffs refused licenses to 2,668 applicants who didn’t meet state-mandated requirements. They also revoked the licenses of 420 applicants for felony convictions or mental incompetence.
The Columbus Dispatch reported, Republicans and the firearms lobby said that this issue is less about meeting a minimum training requirement and more about not restricting the right of bear arms.
Johnson, R-Scioto said that "This particular bill goes an enormous distance in getting the Second Amendment reinstated," the newspaper reported.