In Ohio, it is a felony to bring a gun into a gun free zone, such as government buildings, churches, and private properties. The Ohio House voted on Thursday with a 64-31 outcome to lessen that penalty.
Under current law, a citizen with a concealed weapon’s permit or even qualified military members can be charged with a felony for simply carrying their weapon onto the property. However, if Becker’s bill is passed, the penalty will be reclassified as a misdemeanor. Not only that, but they will only be charged if they are asked to leave and refuse to do so.
This is a great bill. We are already so limited on the places that aren’t “gun-free” zones. When we are in those areas we are either forced to render defenseless OR risk becoming a felon. Neither of those are right.
According to FOP lobbyist Mike Weinman, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police will fight the measure in Senate.
Becker said inadvertently carrying a concealed weapon into a government building is the same class of felony as safe cracking, grand theft auto or aggravated assault, which all carry penalties of up to 18 months in prison and $5,000 in fines. “That’s outlandish,” Becker said.
House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, who says he is a gun owner, opposed the bill, saying it would promote a more casual approach to carrying a deadly weapon.
The bill, introduced in May, has 51 co-sponsors, including many from the Miami Valley. It passed the House largely along partisan lines, though Democrat Jack Cera voted in favor and Republicans Anthony DeVitis and Bill Reinke voted against it.
Ohio first adopted a CCW program in 2004. In the past five years, county sheriffs have issued 397,613 new permits and renewed another 195,328, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s 2016 report. Generally, adults who complete an eight hour training class and pass a criminal background check can qualify for a CCW permit.
Possible gun law changes in Ohio
Ohio lawmakers are considering several bills governing firearms. Here is a look:
House Bill 79. Paramedics and others assigned to SWAT teams would be trained and permitted to carry firearms while on duty and be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
House Bill 142. When stopped by law enforcement, concealed weapons permit holders would not be required to tell the officer that they’re carrying a firearm. Introduced March 21, its sole sponsor is state Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster.
House Bill 201. The aim is to wipe out Ohio’s carry concealed weapons permit program and allow any adult age 21 or older to carry hidden firearms, as long as they aren’t barred from doing so under federal law. It would eliminate the requirement that people carrying weapons disclose that when they’re stopped by law enforcement. Police would not be allowed to search, seize or detain someone – no matter how temporary – based only on the fact they’re carrying a firearm. Introduced May 3, it has 24 co-sponsors.