It's now illegal for Ohio companies to ban handguns from company property.
The new Ohio gun law went into effect Tuesday after the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 199 in December. The new law permits concealed weapon license holders to bring handguns to work, so long as the guns remain locked in a personal car. The law also expands CCW rights at schools, colleges, child care centers and airports.
Former Rep. Ron Maag of Salem Township introduced a CCW bill in the House that was absorbed by SB 199. He argued that Second Amendment rights were jeopardized by employers who would not allow employees to carry guns on the way to and from work.
“I don’t think your employer could tell you that you couldn’t have a Bible in your car,” Maag told the Dayton Daily News. “It’s the same thing. The person who has gone through CCW training is a very conscientious person and the last thing they want to do is jeopardize their right to protect themselves.”
As with most gun legislation, the law was met with some criticism.
But House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, told the Dayton Daily News he doesn’t believe “proliferation of guns everywhere" is the answer.
"The straw that broke the camel’s back is the personal property issue,” Strahorn said. “That was about usurping private property rights. We should not be in the business of telling private property owners that they don’t have the right to determine what will be brought on their property.”
One opponent of Senate Bill 199 is the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Dayton Daily News reported. The chamber argues that the law takes away a business' ability to govern company property.
"Our opposition to it has nothing to do with anything an employee may or may not do with the firearm. It has to do with the firearm coming onto the property at all," Don Boyd, director of labor and legal affairs for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, told the Dayton Daily News. “Many believe property rights are just as important as other constitutional rights."
Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, argued that a company that bans concealed weapons is also liable for any crimes committed against employees on the way to and from work that could have otherwise been defended against with the use of a handgun.
“For any business that tells you they don’t like this, ask them, ‘Are you willing to take the liability for the 25-year-old single mother who gets car-jacked on the way home?’” Irvine told the Dayton Daily News. “There is no right to be free of guns. There is no right to be free of stupid people. We don’t have the right to be free of danger.”
The only known exception to the law is federal buildings.
"Federal installations are not bound by the state law except in certain situations which I don’t think relevant,” said U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice told the Dayton Daily News. "My opinion is that it is not applicable to federal facilities unless the federal installation decides to adopt that portion of the state law."
Earlier versions of the bill allowed a plan to allow CCW holders to bring guns into libraries, city buildings, recreation centers and other public buildings.