COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio became the latest state to have a “constitutional carry” law that allows Ohioans to carry a concealed handgun without training, a license and a background check.
The new measure in effect Monday means Ohioans will be able to carry a concealed handgun without training, a license, or a background check.
Previously, to get a concealed carry license applicants had to get a background check from their local sheriff’s department, complete eight hours of training and an exam that included an in-person demonstration to show proper understanding of handgun usage and rules for safe handling.
Gun rights advocates say the change is overdue.
“It's been a long time coming,” said Rob Sexton, Legislative Affairs Director for Buckeye Firearms Association. “About half the states have a very similar law and have not experienced issues or problems with it. And so we anticipate this is going to work really well in Ohio, too.”
Anyone who purchases a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer will still be vetted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which screens for felony convictions, dishonorable military discharge, or involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.
Opponents of the new legislation are wary about the access to firearms in the Buckeye state.
“Data from other states shows that we can expect an increase in gun violence to follow the implementation of this law and an increase in gun deaths as a result of more people carrying more hidden loaded weapons in public with less training and less knowledge of Ohio law as it relates to guns,” said Kristine Woodworth, a volunteer from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The new law also eliminates the need for someone legally carrying a concealed weapon from having to immediately notify law enforcement they are in possession of a weapon during a traffic stop.
“Having this law that gives people the idea that I can just carry a gun whenever I choose to, that I can protect myself by any means,” said Myesha Watkins, executive director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance. “It helps minimize the conflict resolution skills that we're trying to teach to young people like before you shoot.”
A report from the Ohio Attorney General’s office shows more than 202,000 concealed carry permits were issued in 2021. More than 2,600 applications were denied.
In 2019, DeWine pushed for legislation to decrease gun violence after the Dayton mass shooting left nine people dead. The new laws would have strengthened background checks and improved mental health care, but it died in the house.
“I urge individuals who are going to carry weapons to please get the proper training and understand the weapon that they have. I urge our citizens to do that in our community,” said Cleveland interim Chief of Police Wayne Drummond.
Businesses will still be allowed to post that they prohibit firearms. In many cases, having a concealed weapon in a school safety zone will also still be illegal.
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