Ohio residents can now carry concealed firearms without a permit after a so called Constitutional carry law went in effect on June 13.
The controversial bill, Senate Bill 215, was signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on March 14.
The law came into effect on June 13, the same day DeWine signed a law which allows school districts decide whether to allow teachers and school employees to be armed after completing mandatory training.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Terry Johnson, a Republican from southern Ohio’s Scioto County.
“Senate Bill 215 is an important step in restoring Ohioans’ Second Amendment rights,” Moore said in a statement. “If you are a law-abiding citizen openly carrying in Ohio, which is already allowed by Ohio Law, and decide to put on a jacket or sweatshirt that would conceal your firearm, you are now breaking the law. Responsible gun owners should not be punished for lawfully practicing their constitutional rights, and this bill solves that problem.”
Just four days before DeWine signed SB 215, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed a constitutional carry law for the state on March 10. That law also is set to go into effect in early June.
“Unlike states who are doing everything in their power to make it harder for law-abiding citizens, Alabama is reaffirming our commitment to defending our Second Amendment rights,” Ivey said in a statement at the time of signing the bill.
There currently are 25 states who have signed on to the constitutional carry law. In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) also vowed to sign a constitutional carry law before he was to leave that office.
In late March, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (R) signed that state’s permitless carry bill, which is set to take effect in late June.
Georgia was the most recent state to approve a constitutional carry law. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed the bill into law on April 13. The law will take effect in July.
Ohio’s new law will apply to anyone 21 or older who is legally eligible to own and carry a firearm in the state. That means those currently banned from possession, are still banned from possession. People voiced concerns about the new law eliminating training requirements for concealed carriers, but DeWine said the law was to focus on peoples’ Second Amendment Rights and their right to bear arms.
The new law applies only to handguns. It does not apply to larger weapons such as rifles and shotguns. However, when an Ohio resident crosses state lines with a weapon, they must abide by the gun laws in that state.
DeWine also noted the spike in violent crime in Ohio when explaining his decision to sign SB 215,
The United States has seen a surge in violent crime over the last few years, with Ohio following in that trend, according to statistics. Between 2019 and 2020, Ohio saw a 40 percent rise in its homicide rate and a four percent overall rise in violent crime offenses, according to information from the FBI’s annual crime statistics and DeWine’s office.
DeWine again defended his record on reducing crime, stating that his administration invested $250 million into local police departments and created four narcotics intelligence centers.
In January 2021, DeWine signed a “Stand Your Ground” law that expanded the legal justifications for using deadly force in self-defense.
Whaley, DeWine’s gubernatorial opponent and the former mayor of Dayton, opposed the “Stand Your Ground” law.
Whaley was serving as Dayton’s mayor during the summer of 2019 when a mass shooting took place in downtown’s Oregon District entertainment section on Aug. 4. Police shot and killed Connor Betts, in front of a bar he was about to enter where dozens of people had rushed inside.
Betts was armed with an AR-15, a .223-caliber high-capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines, Betts fired 41 shots in less than 30 seconds. Betts was killed by police officers on patrol in the entertainment district 30 seconds after he opened fire.
The shooting left nine dead and 17 injured. Betts’ 22-year-old sister was among those he killed.
Betts, 24, had a history of mental illness. He had fantasized about killing for a decade, according to police.
Police said Betts purchased the weapon legally online. However, a friend of Betts lied on federal forms to purchase weapons including parts for Betts to upgrade his gun, according to authorities.
In Nov. 2019, Betts’ friend, Ethan Kollie, 24, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms and lying on federal firearms forms during a hearing at the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, according to information from the Department of Justice.
Whaley praised Dayton police for the immediate response, and in the aftermath of the shooting, said there needed to be more gun law reforms and stronger background checks.
Soon after the shooting, DeWine unveiled a “red flag” law as part of his gun safety plan. The bill would have allowed police or family to petition courts to remove guns from people they believe could harm themselves or others. However, it was later dropped from DeWine’s gun plan, causing more heated debate from his gubernatorial opponent.
On her Twitter account on the day of the Uvalde shooting, Whaley said about the Dayton shooting:
“After a shooting left 9 dead, Mike DeWine looked the people of Dayton in the eye and told us he would do something to reduce gun violence. He lied. He caved to the extremists and has signed bills that will lead to even more deaths. Ohio deserves better.”
DeWine also defended his record for bolstering safety in schools.
Under the new law, anyone who is stopped by law enforcement and carrying a concealed handgun will not have to promptly inform the officer about the gun, as under the former law. They will only need to inform an officer who asks whether they’re carrying a handgun.
However, there will be no changes to legal conceal carry locations. Federal law still requires a CHL to keep a concealed gun in their car in a school zone. Property owners such as store and restaurant owners retain the right to ban firearms on their premises.
In a statement, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik said about SB 215:
“Law-abiding Ohioans do not need a permission slip from the government to carry a firearm to defend their families and communities, and Ohio Republicans thank Gov. DeWine for his leadership in standing for our Second Amendment rights.”