Ohio may become the 17th state to allow individuals to carry concealed guns without a permit. Currently, in the state of Ohio, in order to obtain a concealed handgun license, which is valid for 5 years, an Ohio resident must submit an application to the county sheriff, pay an initial $67 fee (or $91 if the applicant has been an Ohio resident for less than 5 years), pass a federal background check, and complete the minimum educational requirements, including a total of 8 hours of training (at least 2 of which must be in-person training).
On March 27, 2019, primary sponsors Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman, along with 27 Republican cosponsors, introduced House Bill 174, which, if enacted, would abolish Ohio’s conceal carry license and training requirements. More specifically, if enacted, “a person who is twenty-one years of age or older and is not legally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm . . . shall not be required to obtain a concealed weapons license . . . in order to carry in this state a concealed deadly weapon that is not a restricted deadly weapon.”
The bill would also expand Ohio’s gun law to cover “concealed handguns, firearms, or deadly weapons,” including rifles and shotguns. Further, the bill would remove the current requirement that a driver or occupant of a motor vehicle who is stopped by law enforcement must notify the officer that the individual has a concealed handgun license and is carrying a loaded handgun.
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.1210, Ohio employers “may not establish, maintain, or enforce a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person who has been issued a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition” in a locked compartment of his or her personal vehicle while on company property. Ohio employers may otherwise prohibit firearms on their premises. House Bill 174, if enacted, would further limit an employer’s ability to prohibit firearms on company property, as the bill would allow employees, with or without a concealed handgun license, to transport or store a deadly weapon or ammunition in a locked compartment of a personal vehicle while on company property.
In the last few years, several states have joined the constitutional carry movement, passing laws allowing residents to carry handguns without a license or permit. If Ohio becomes the 17th state to allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit, companies with employees in Ohio may want to conduct risk assessments; reassess their policies, including any weapons and/or safety policies; and update company procedures accordingly.