Gov. DeWine signs bill removing concealed gun training, permits
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A bill allowing Ohioans to carry concealed guns without a permit or training has been signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.
The governor signed Senate Bill 215 on Monday, around two weeks after the Ohio House Republicans passed it.
Ohio is now the 23rd state to allow permitless concealed carry. Gun owners can still apply for a permit if they want, but it is not mandatory.
The legislation also removes the requirement to tell officers about the weapon unless specifically asked.
The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police “strongly” opposed the bill in committee testimony.
Michael Weinman, FOP’s government affairs director, called the bill’s erasure of the notification requirement, which emerged at the FOP’s urging during initial CCL negotiations in 2004, a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for having a firearm.
He also argued the bill forces officers to make prima facie determinations on whether a person is law-abiding.
“What does a law-abiding person look like?” Weinman posed. “How do they act? The testimony we’ve heard says that we must treat everyone as armed and a threat. The bill, however, forces us to assume that everyone is law-abiding and not a threat to anyone.”
Keary McCarthy, executive director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, argued the bill will increase violent crime and officer-involved shootings.
She said the bill puts officers at risk because it would allow people convicted of misdemeanors, such as assault of an officer, to carry concealed weapons, something they cannot do now.
She echoed Weinman’s point that the bill would make enforcing gun laws “effectively impossible” for Ohio police: “[W]ithout a concealed carry permit requirement, a law enforcement officer will have no way of determining whether that person is carrying a concealed weapon legally or illegally.”
Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey also testified against the bill.
“Allowing virtually anyone in Ohio to conceal weapons on their person without training or background checks will make Ohio less safe. More than that, it will make the job of law enforcement even more stressful,” McGuffey said.
After the governor signed the bill, Sheriff McGuffey released the following statement:
“It is important to note that I support the 2nd Amendment; however, I think that signing this bill into law is not very well thought out for highly populated jurisdictions such as Hamilton County. To vote for people to be able to concealed carry without a license, without any training, without any documentation, makes it exponentially harder for law enforcement to prevent gun crimes.
“Poor decision-making happens, and unfortunately, if you’re carrying a weapon and you make a poor decision in a very elevated and high-stress situation, the repercussions and ramifications of that are tremendous. People in the general public may not understand how poorly most people shoot. That’s why I have been a vocal opponent of this bill, and tried to educate the public on what this means for our community.
“I have many, many years of firearm training and I am usually at 90% accuracy. In a high-stress situation, my accuracy or that of any trained officer will go down by about 40%. This is something that needs to be considered when we allow untrained and unlicensed individuals to walk the streets of Hamilton County with concealed weapons.”
NRA State Director John Weber countered in testimony from October 2021 the bill “simply allows a person who is otherwise legally able to possess a firearm to do so in a manner of their choosing, often in a [discreet,] concealable fashion. Again, this is not a new or uncommon policy.”
The package went nowhere in the Ohio legislature, which was and remains Republican-controlled.
DeWine signed a ‘Stand your ground’ law in January 2021.
Whaley issued the following statement on Monday’s bill signing:
“After a mass shooting in Dayton, Governor DeWine promised to do something to reduce gun violence. At every turn, he’s broken that promise. Signing this bill will make everyone in our communities, including our police officers, less safe. DeWine’s decision to sign this dangerous bill is shameless and disgraceful. Once again, he’s putting primary politics ahead of Ohioans. Ohio deserves better.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters also issued a statement:
“By signing this bill into law, Mike DeWine has sold out Ohioans and law enforcement officers to special interest groups and extremists in the legislature. This bill will make all Ohioans less safe. Time and again, DeWine has promised to support law enforcement officers and ‘do something’ to combat gun violence in our state. Once again, he’s failed on both fronts, putting his own political interests over the safety and well-being of his constituents.”
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