COLUMBUS, Ohio — A pair of Republican state lawmakers have introduced a bill to make it easier for Ohioans to carry conceal weapons. However, the proposal is receiving backlash due to the nature of the bill and the timing of its introduction.
What You Need To Know
- Two Ohio Republican lawmakers introduced House Bill 227 to make it easier for Ohioans to carry conceal weapons
- Among other things, the bill would allow anyone 21 and older to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license
- The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio have come out against the bill
Eighteen people were killed in March in mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia. That has not stopped Ohio House Republicans from trying to expand the rights of gun owners.
Last week, House Bill 227 was introduced, which if passed would change the name of a concealed handgun license to concealed weapons license, allow a licensee to carry concealed all deadly weapons that would otherwise be legal to possess, remove the requirement of a licensed gun owner to "promptly" notify police of a gun in their car and allow anyone 21 and older to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license.
"We have to get that law passed," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association.
"There's no accountability there at all," said Toby Hoover, Founder of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office said more than 241,000 concealed carry licenses were issued or renewed last year. Currently, Ohioans may carry a concealed handgun with a license but may openly carry a gun without a permit.
"That really doesn't make a lot of sense," Rieck said.
Rieck said the licensing process is also flawed.
"There are fees associated with it,” said Rieck. “There's training which requires additional money. Gun owners in Ohio have proven themselves over many years to be trustworthy and it's time for Ohio to have constitutional carry.”
"What's more important, our families or our loved ones or our guns,” Hoover said. “And if we're going to keep choosing, well, the guns are more important families are going to keep suffering.”
The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio has come out against the bill as well. The union representatives said removing the requirement for licensed gun owners to “promptly” notify a police officer during a traffic stop that they have a weapon in the car makes an officer’s job more dangerous.
Hoover said he believes there is also a racial component at play.
"If a white man is carrying in the car and he gets stopped for running a red light and he doesn't tell the officer until he's asked, it'll probably go smoothly. If it's a black man driving the car and the same thing happens, it won't go as smoothly," said Hoover.
Before both recent mass shootings, the suspects passed background checks when buying their firearms.
That is why gun-control advocates, like Hoover, say the state and federal government should be strengthening gun laws instead of easing them. Meanwhile, gun rights supporters like Rieck believe constitutional carry would be a safety measure.