An Ohio House committee passes a bill to do away with permits to carry concealed guns
The Senate-approved legislation now goes before the Ohio House.
The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee has passed Sub Senate Bill 215, legislation that allows Ohioans to concealed carry without a permit.
This bill would also remove required training and background checks from concealed carry requirements.
Lisa Voigt, a professor at Ohio State University, opposed the bill. She said passage of the bill would increase intentional as well as unintentional gun deaths. "We are in the midst of a public health crisis," she told lawmakers.
Laura Robertson-Boyd of Columbus said under this bill, "someone could buy a gun without a criminal background check, then could immediately carry that gun, concealed, down the street around our children and our families." She cited research from the "Moms Demand Action" group's "Everytown Research and Policy Studies" showing incidents involving firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens.
Ann Shroyer, also affiliated with "Moms Demand Action," said in Ohio, "gun deaths had increased 44% from 2011 to 2020." She said it is a devasting level of gun violence. "I would indeed say it is blood in the streets," Shroyer said.
After the hearing, Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, said "There is absolute reams of data to show that the law-abiding gun owner is not the one to be feared and, in fact, they are the ones that need protecting." Sexton said this bill is needed to protect the constitutional right of citizens to carry weapons. "We are at a time right now when police feel handcuffed, citizens don't know where they can turn for help and this just gives us a fighting chance," Sexton said.
Police agencies, including the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, have opposed this bill as it made its way through the legislative process. Instead of concealed carriers being required to let an officer know they are carrying a weapon, as is currently required, that responsibility would now be with the officer to ask instead.
An amendment added in the committee said those carrying a concealed handgun without a permit must meet the same legal standards as those carrying with a permit. And lawmakers added an amendment that reaffirms law enforcement officers can continue to make what are known as "tarry stops." Those are incidents where police can search a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime. But the committee rejected an amendment backed by Democrats that would have allowed family members or police agencies to get a court order to temporarily restrict someone thought to be a danger to themselves or others. Majority Republicans on the committee also rejected a Democratic amendment that would require a background check with a firearm is transferred and another by the minority party that would have required gun dealers to give a buyer a one-page brochure stating present law.
The bill now goes to the full Ohio House for its approval and then on to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Some of the details in this bill run counter to DeWine's "Strong Ohio" gun reform plan that he proposed in 2019 after a mass shooting near Dayton left nine people dead and 17 others wounded. But DeWine has been sending mixed messages about his stance on gun reforms since then. Last January, he signed Ohio's controversial "Stand Your Ground" bill (SB175) which removes the requirement for a person to retreat before shooting a person in self-defense.