New legislation passed in the Ohio Senate could create substantial changes in the state's rules and procedures for issuing concealed-handgun permits if the law is signed into effect by the governor.
House Bill 234, as approved by the Senate, ultimately would make it easier for Ohio residents to legally carry a concealed weapon. The bill cleared the Senate 24-6, according to Cleveland.com, and now it awaits approval from the Gov. John Kasich.
One of the most highly disputed parts of the bill is the change in training hours needed for a license. In Ohio, residents currently are required to have 12 hours of training courses to obtain a concealed-carry permit. If the bill is passed, the number of hours would be reduced to eight.
However, within that eight hours, at least two would need to be in-person training classes that would consists of range time and live-fire training. The classes also would have to allow for a combination of in-person and online training.
Additionally, the proposed law no longer would require an applicant be a resident of Ohio for at least 45 days before applying for the license. Currently the resident has to live in the state for 45 days and the county in which the applicant seeks the concealed handgun license, or a county adjacent to that county, for at least 30 days.
This means, under the proposed law, a person who moves to Ohio could apply for a license within a week of residing in the state. The new bill also proposes allowing a person who does not live in the state the opportunity to apply for or renew a license if he or she is employed in Ohio.
For instance, if a person lives in Northern Kentucky, but works in Cincinnati, he or she would be able to apply for a concealed-handgun license in Ohio under the new law. This would allow the Kentucky resident to legally carry his or her handgun while employed in the state.
If a person moves to Ohio with a valid permit from a state that recognizes Ohio's licenses, it automatically would be recognized, under the proposed law. Currently, this only happens when the attorney general enters into a written agreement with another state.
The proposed law also removes certain offenses that currently make an applicant ineligible for a license, including offenses relating to the regulation of business practices and misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for two years or less.
If a person is in possession of a concealed handgun without a valid permit, he or she could face criminal charges. According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.12, a person can be charged with carrying concealed weapons if he or she knowingly carries or has concealed on their body or ready to use:
- A deadly weapon besides a handgun
- A handgun other than a dangerous ordnance
- A dangerous ordnance
Carrying a concealed handgun without a valid permit could be punishable by a minor misdemeanor, misdemeanor of the first degree, felony of the fourth degree or felony of the third degree. Several factors are involved in determining the severity of the charge, including if the person had been convicted of a previous similar offense.
If signed into law by the governor, it would take effect in 90 days. For a full description of the proposed legislation, read the House Bill 234 analysis here.