COLUMBUS, Ohio — Statehouse Republicans are trying to pass a controversial bill which would make it easier to concealed carry a deadly weapon.

What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 227 would allow anyone 21 and older to carry concealed any deadly weapon without a permit

  • The bill would keep the background check in place, but would rid the requirement of the eight-hour training course

  • The bill received its fourth hearing Thursday

Supporters said Ohioans need to keep up with other states that already have this type of law on the books. Meanwhile, opponents believe there is no better time to tighten restrictions amid the upward trend of gun violence.

The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee heard testimony on House Bill 227 on Thursday.​ The bill would allow anyone 21 and older to carry concealed any deadly weapon without a permit.

"The Constitution of Ohio reads that we have a right to keep firearms for our security and for our defense. And currently, you know, people have to jump through hoops," said Rob Sexton with Buckeye Firearms Association. 

Current regulations include eight hours of mandatory training and a federal background check. The bill would keep the background check in place, but without the need for a license, the requirement to complete basic training would go away. Sexton said the system has too much red tape for those that need quicker access to guns.

"You really have to ask yourself if I'm a person who's in a domestic situation that's gotten violent, do I need to wait for the government to catch up before I'm allowed to protect myself when the Constitution already says I can,” Sexton said. “That's the kind of example that leads us to say it's time that Ohio join the other 21 states that already have constitutional carry.”

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention orga​nization in the country, the rate of gun deaths increased 34% in Ohio from 2010 to 2019, compared to a 17% increase nationwide.​ Gun reform advocates like Moms Demand Action said this is the last thing Ohio needs right now.​

"Evidence demonstrates that in states that have passed the permitless carry laws, gun-related homicides and aggravated assaults with guns have gone up. So it's not a bill that's designed to protect Ohioans and keep them safe. It will only increase gun violence. And we're already seeing epidemic levels," said Laura Robertson-Boyd with MDA's Columbus chapter.

The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, the state's largest police union, is also against the bill. The organization said proper vetting is essential to keep the public and police officers safe and the bill would only make the streets more dangerous for both.​

"We would prefer to see the renewal training restored,” said Michael Weinman. “But I mean, now you've got people that are completely untrained, you know, and they don't know that they're not supposed to walk into certain buildings in offices or businesses, you know, armed and things like that. So there raises the specter of confrontation. So you have to assume that there's going to be an increase in violence.”

It is unclear what the future of the bill is. No additional hearings have been scheduled. All House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, said on Wednesday is the issue deserves consideration.