By: José Niño
Ohio is officially considering a Constitutional Carry bill.
Under SB 215, filed earlier this month, possessing a concealed weapons permit would be optional and only necessary for people who want to carry in other states with reciprocity agreements that recognize Ohio’s concealed carry permit. In addition, SB 215 would lift the requirement that people immediately inform police officers that they are carrying a concealed firearm.
This bill has a companion in the Ohio House and is one of numerous bills that a select few Republican officials in the Ohio General Assembly are pushing in efforts to roll back gun control.
Some of the opponents to this bill are the usual suspects, including the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP’s government affairs director Mike Weinman declared that “background checks and training and the notification are absolutely necessary.”
Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that strengthened the state’s “stand your ground” law, consequently expanding lawful Ohioans’ ability to defend themselves in dangerous situations.
The introduction of Constitutional Carry stands in stark contrast to other aspects of Gov. Dewine’s legislative agenda, in which he has called for a modified form of a red flag gun confiscation order.
Ohio is a middling state for gun rights. According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s Best States for Gun Owners rankings, Ohio is in 23rd place. As for concealed carry, Ohio is ranked in a sub-par 34th place according to Guns & Ammomagazine’s rankings for concealed carry.
If SB 215 is passed, Ohio would become the 22nd Constitutional Carry state. The current partisan makeup of the Ohio General Assembly bodes well for Constitutional Carry’s passage. Republicans enjoy a 25-8 advantage in the State Senate and a 64-35 advantage in the State House.
On paper, this should make SB 215’s passage a relatively easy task, however, the past decade of gun politics has shown that red states are not always enthusiastic about passing pro-Second Amendment legislation.
It ultimately takes external pressure from the grassroots to make legislation like Constitutional Carry a reality. The same grassroots activism will have to be applied in the Buckeye State if Second Amendment activists are serious about making it the 22nd state to restore the right to carry.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at email@example.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.