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Ohio’s Constitutional Carry Bill To Take Effect in the Coming Months

UPDATE: As of March 14, 2022 SB215 has been signed by Governor Mike DeWine. While the law does not immediately go into effect, it has been signed by the Governor.  The information in this article has been updated accordingly.

Introduction

We have already written numerous articles pertaining to gun laws in Ohio, but there is often more to say on the subject, as we have recently been seeing changes in Ohio to the law with regard to firearms.  In about 90 days, Ohio’s government has decided they are going to remove the requirement to obtain a license before carrying a concealed handgun for qualifying adults 21 years of age or older.  Of course you would still have to, among other things, be allowed to own a weapon before you could carry a concealed weapon whether a license is required or not, and the weapon would still have to meet the requirements for you to be allowed to concealed carry.  Even when the law goes into effect, you could still get in serious trouble if you carry a concealed weapon after your right to own a firearm or carry a concealed firearm has been revoked.  While this law is not yet in effect, it has the potential to be a significant change for gun owners.

The Law That Will Change

Even while this article is being written, Ohio’s government continues the process of changing certain concealed carry laws.  Under the current law, Ohioans can carry a concealed weapon only if they have the proper license and they carry the license on their person while carrying a concealed weapon.  However, Ohio’s Governor has signed a bill that will change things.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  The bill that will change Ohio’s concealed carry laws will not go into effect until mid June, roughly 90 days after the Governor signed it; therefore, any Ohioan wishing to carry a concealed weapon is still legally required to obtain the license and carry a valid and non-expired license on their person while carrying a concealed weapon.

That being said, the bill in question (SB215) will go into effect in about 90 days, now that it has been signed by the Governor.  Once in effect, the new bill will allow non-permit carry for Ohioans 21 years of age and older, as long as they are qualifying adults.  To understand what would make someone in Ohio a qualifying adult, you can read another article we wrote linked here.

What is Permitless Carry

While non-permit concealed carry is a new idea to Ohio, we would by no means be the first state to allow such a thing. Qualifying residents of states such as Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming can all carry certain types of concealed weapons without a permit.  With the exception of North Dakota, those states even allow non-residents to conceal carry without a permit as long as the carrier and the weapon meet specifications in the laws.   A state that allows permitless carry is often referred to as a permitless carry state.  As of right now (March of 2022), Ohio is not a permitless carry state. However, when SB 215 goes into effect, Ohio will become the 23rd state to allow some form of permitless carry.

What is Constitutional Carry

Constitutional Carry is an unofficial term that is used for laws that remove restrictions from citizens’ rights to carry firearms.  The term implies that the lack of restrictions is due to the fact that citizens have a right to bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  While constitutional carry is often used interchangeably with permitless carry, it is sometimes used in a broader sense to mean any type of carry that’s allowed based on the Second Amendment.  For example, Ohio already allows open carry of some weapons for anyone who is of age, not in a restricted area, and has no restrictions placed on them based on criminal record (or other unique circumstances.) New York, on the other hand, is an example of a state where open carry is not usually allowed in public.  Some may consider Ohio’s current tolerance of open carry a type of constitutional carry. However, Ohio is not yet a constitutional carry state in some sense, because, for the next few months, Ohio still does not allow concealed carry unless it is with a permit.

What Will Change in Ohio

To reiterate what we stated several times already, SB 215 is not yet in effect in Ohio.  The Governor did sign the bill, but it does not go into effect for roughly 90 days.  Therefore, as of now, you must have a valid up-to-date concealed carry permit in order to legally carry a concealed weapon in Ohio.   Once the bill goes into effect however, that will change for a lot of Ohioans.  The permit for concealed carry will no longer be required for qualifying adults.  This means that the training and background check that go along with obtaining the concealed carry permit will also not be required.  The definition of a qualifying adult is similar to previous laws, but it does not include the concealed carry permit or the process needed to obtain the permit.  There will also be slight changes to the way a gun owner would have to conduct themselves during a traffic stop in Ohio.  We are currently working to update our previous articles about what to do and what not to do at a traffic stop while transporting a firearm.  For now, those articles are good resources if you want to know about the law the way it currently stands, given that SB 215 is not yet in effect.  It is also good to keep in mind the fact that even when the requirement for a permit is removed, you will still have to be a qualifying adult and have a weapon that meets the requirements in order to be allowed to concealed carry.

Conclusion

Owning a gun is something that each state takes very seriously and that citizens of all the states, including Ohio should take seriously as well.  No matter how the laws change, Ohioans should keep themselves informed about the law in their state.  Staying informed on this issue will hep you know how to protect yourself, what types of things you may potentially have to protect yourself from, and also help you stay on the right side of the law.  However, if you do find yourself needing legal help when it comes to firearms or any other area of Ohio law, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Dearie, Fischer & Matthews.

 

We cover all kinds of legal issues on our website.  You can read our most recent article here.

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