A new bill in the Ohio House of Representatives could bring constitutional carry to Ohio, joining 16 states that have passed similar laws.
State Reps. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, and Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, presented the proposal allowing Ohioans to carry hidden handguns without a permit or training before the House Federalism Committee.
House Bill 178 would allow anyone age 21 or older who is not prohibited by federal law from possessing a handgun due to a felony conviction or other disqualifying factors, to carry a gun or other weapons without obtaining training or a permit.
Leaders from across Northeast Ohio, including Pepper Pike Mayor Richard Bain, spoke out against the bill during a press conference in May.
For Ohioans who want to legally carry a hidden handgun they must pass a background test, complete eight hours of training from a certified instructor, which includes a six-hour class and two-hours on the gun range, and pay for a permit from a county sheriff.
In a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio had 1,589 firearm deaths in 2017, with the U.S. experiencing 39,733 deaths.
Bain said he’s concerned about the removal of the training that is currently needed when seeking a concealed carry permit. He said police officers spend a career training in making “shoot, don’t shoot” decisions, for law-abiding citizens to make the same decision some training needs to be present.
“It is a very bad idea to take away the basic
firearms training that people who wish to carry a concealed weapon need to have,” he said. “There are many law-abiding people that wish to carry conceal who do not have almost any training or knowledge regarding the handling and the safety and making the decision to discharge a firearm.”
Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, which supports constitutional carry, said this proposal would not increase the danger to police officers or the general public. He said training is always good and the organization advocates for additional training but added if someone is going to be irresponsible with a gun, a permit will not change that.
“The reality is the people who are responsible will continue to be responsible and the people who are irresponsible will continue to be irresponsible,” he said. “A license does not change someone’s fundamental nature.”