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Ohio's new 'Constitutional Carry' law takes effect

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 215 on March 14 after it passed the legislature earlier that month.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A law allowing eligible Ohioans to carry a concealed firearm without a permit is now in effect.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 215 on March 14 after it passed the legislature earlier that month.

The measure, dubbed “Constitutional Carry” by its backers, is one of several GOP-backed proposals in recent years seeking to expand gun rights in Ohio. It was introduced by GOP state Sen. Terry Johnson of southern Ohio’s Scioto County, who said it eliminates a discrepancy in Ohio law that currently allows people to openly carry a gun.

The law allows a legal gun owner to carry a concealed firearm without the permit and training that was previously required.

Gun owners can still apply for a concealed weapons permit under the legislation, allowing those who obtain it to carry a concealed weapon in states with reciprocity agreements recognizing such permits.

The law also eliminates the requirement that individuals quickly notify police officers that they are carrying a concealed weapon should they have an interaction with police. The law only requires that individuals confirm they are carrying a weapon if an officer asks them.

With the law going into effect, Ohio is now the 23rd state to allow people to carry a concealed firearm without a license.

Last year, Ohio sheriffs issued 202,920 new or renewed conceal carry licenses, a 20% increase over 2020, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said. Those licenses came with an eight-hour class that teaches gun safety.

Sheriffs denied licenses to 2,668 applicants who didn’t meet state-mandated requirements and revoked 420 licenses for such things as felony convictions and mental incompetence.

Ohio lawmakers have responded with mixed reactions to the changes. Many Democrats have been critical of the change, especially in the wake of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.

Recently, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow teachers and other school personnel to carry a weapon with little training requirements.

The legislation is awaiting DeWine’s signature. Earlier this month, the governor said he intends to sign the bill.

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