Starting Monday, Senate Bill 215 takes effect, allowing “Qualifying Adults” in Ohio to carry a concealed handgun they legally own without the need for a concealed handgun license.

Richland County Sheriff J. Steve Sheldon said qualifying adults are 21 and older, legal residents, not fugitives, not subject to a protection order, have not been hospitalized or adjudicated mentally ill, have not been dishonorably discharged from the military, do not have a conviction or delinquency for a felony, a drug offense, domestic violence, one misdemeanor offense of violence within three years or two within five years, or are not otherwise forbidden under state or federal law.

Additionally, Sheldon said he would like to remind visitors to the Richland County Administration Building and Courts that, regardless of the recent change in Ohio’s concealed carry law, deadly weapons are still prohibited in buildings within which a courthouse is located, such as the County Office Building and Courthouse.

Ohio law section 2923.123 still makes it a felony crime to bring in or have a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance in a courthouse or in another building in which a courtroom is located, except for law enforcement officers in their official duties, Sheldon said.

8 hours of weapons training will no longer be required

Until Monday, Ohio law has required conceal carry permit holders to attend eight hours of training, which includes two hours spent at a gun range firing a weapon. Those permits will still be available for people who want to carry across certain state lines, but they will be optional for those carrying across Ohio, according to Anna Staver, a reporter with the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau.

Mansfield police Chief Keith Porch said, “Personally, I have never been opposed to legally able and law-abiding citizens carrying firearms but the new ‘Constitutional Carry Law’ eliminates two important components as it relates to the CCW law, which is ‘Training’ and ‘Law Enforcement Notification.’  I believe the ‘Training’ aspect speaks for itself. Do we allow people to drive vehicles or fly airplanes without training? No for obvious reasons.

“The Mansfield Police Department spends $13,500 annually to conduct quarterly firearms training which in my opinion is not enough but there are budgets to consider. Under the current CCW law, eight hours of training is required which covers basic firearm safety which makes sense and was foolish to remove. At least the basic fundamentals of firearm safety were covered even if that person never advances one step further with firearms training. Have no mistake firearm training is a perishable skill that I have seen in nearly 30 years of law enforcement. When it comes to using a firearm in any scenario you are only as good as the training you have received and those scenarios usually involve high levels of stress,” Porch said.

“Secondly, Law Enforcement Notification, under the new law, a person carrying a firearm is not required to inform an officer they are carrying but cannot lie when asked. It only makes sense that a person carrying a firearm would and should inform the officer that they carrying when a law enforcement interaction occurs. Remember, we are talking about law-abiding citizens. The people who do not tell officers they are not carrying in my experience are 100% involved in criminal activity,” Porch said.

“As a citizen, if I was stopped by an officer and I was carrying, I would immediately inform that officer I was carrying. You are asking an officer to access that interaction, (Traffic Stop, Call for Service) in a matter of seconds and hoping that there are no misunderstandings in determining who the law-abiding citizen or the criminal is,” he said.

“Even though it is not in the ‘Constitutional Carry Law’ I would strongly recommend training with firearms and immediately informing an officer if you are carrying if a law enforcement interaction occurs. Let’s hope for the best,” he said Wednesday in a statement.

Brice Nihiser, public information officer for the Ohio Highway Patrol, said it is going to be on a case-by-case basis as to whether a trooper asks a motorist if they are armed. For example, if there is a suspicion a person is armed, a trooper would ask the individual if they are armed.

“We enforce the laws that are on the books,” he said. “We adapt to it and continue moving along.”

Nihiser said people are going to be able to conceal firearms in their vehicles.

“And we just want them to do it safely and legally,” he said.

Ohio legislation Mike DeWine is supporting

DeWine recently highlighted some bills he hopes to see passed by Ohio’s GOP state legislature dealing with school safety, according to the Columbus Dispatch, a sister paper of the News Journal.

One of them is House Bill 383 which would increase penalties for certain gun offenses. The governor said that would help reduce repeat violent offenders.

DeWine wants legislation to arm school staff subject to local control. Details on what training would be required needs to be worked out but could include trauma, first aid and de-escalation, he said.

DeWine also called on lawmakers to pass a requirement that outstanding warrants for serious offenses be reported to the national database for background checks. The DeWine administration has been doing work on that already, having put 220,000 warrants into the national system this year, an increase above the 18,000 warrants in 2019, The Dispatch earlier reported.

He also maintained support of strengthening protection orders to keep guns away from people who are deemed a threat to others or themselves.

However, past efforts by DeWine to push gun control-related measures have made little progress and faced opposition by Republican lawmakers who control the Ohio House and Senate. DeWine said he remains optimistic this time around.

Calls to ‘Do something’ after Texas school shooting

The Texas school shooting has reignited debates about gun control measures across the nation. In Ohio, attention has refocused on DeWine’s response to the 2019 Dayton mass shooting. The night after the shooting, DeWine promised action after a crowd chanted at him to “do something” after a gunman killed nine people in the city’s Oregon District, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

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DeWine had unveiled a set of proposals, such as a “pink slip” law letting authorities send certain people to a psychiatric hospital, where there’s no legal access to guns. He wanted to increase penalties for certain gun crimes as well, according to The Dispatch.

lwhitmir@gannett.com

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