COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill at the Statehouse aims to allow people to carry concealed weapons inside some buildings that contain courtrooms. State Rep. Adam Mathews is a primary sponsor of House Bill 272. 

Mathews said the legislation is designed for smaller communities that often use one building for multiple purposes. 

What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 272 is a proposal that would give local governments the authority to allow people to carry concealed weapons in buildings containing courtrooms, as long as certain stipulations are met

  • State Representative Adam Mathews said it's intended for smaller communities that have a shared space

  • Michael Benza, a professor of law from Case Western Reserve University, said the tricky part to this bill is what defines a courthouse

“We wanted to clarify that a room that is sometimes used as the county chambers or for meetings for Parks and Recreation, or meeting for other types of purposes when it’s not a courtroom, it’s not a courtroom,” Mathews said. 

Ohio law makes it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in any building that contains a courtroom at this time. This proposal would allow governments to legalize concealed carry as long as the building is not solely used as a courthouse, it’s under the jurisdiction of the local government, and court is not in session while the weapons are being carried.

Law professor Michael Benza from Case Western Reserve University said he is worried about whether the new law would create confusion for Ohioans about when they can carry weapons in certain buildings.

“That leads to the other issues of if I bring the gun in at 8 a.m. and court doesn’t start till 9 a.m., what do I do at 9?” Benza said. “Because now I have my gun. It was lawful when I came in. What do I do now? And so if the concerns about prohibiting in the courthouses is for safety of the courts and the people who are there for core business, you’ve now created that danger by having this stamp of a statute.” 

However, Rob Sexton from the Buckeye Firearms Association argues the bill could have a positive effect. 

“If they are going to go to the government building with their firearm and they’re going to leave it in the car when they go into the government building, they’re not protecting themselves,” Sexton said. “But at the same time, the firearm is left in the car where it could easily be stolen and then later used by a criminal in some sort of crime.” 

The bill passed the House Government Oversight Committee, and now it will head over to the Ohio House for a vote from the legislature.