(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — An Ohio law that allows those 21 and older to no longer carry a permit or complete the eight-hour handgun training course to carry and conceal a firearm went into effect on Monday.
The law, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in March, also ended the requirement for gun carriers to inform police officers if they have a concealed weapon on them unless specifically asked.
SB 215, referred to as the permitless carry or constitutional carry law, passed through the Ohio House and Senate without any Democratic votes.
The law does have some criteria for who is allowed to follow permitless carry. It says you must be 21 years of age or older, be a legal resident, not be a fugitive, not be the subject of a protection order and not have been hospitalized or adjudicated as being mentally ill.
Further, one must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military, not have a conviction or delinquency for a felony, a drug offense or domestic violence.
Those who do not have a conviction of a violent misdemeanor within the last three years, do not have two or more convictions for violent misdemeanors within the last five years and are not forbidden to carry a firearm under state or federal law are now allowed permitless carry under the new law.
The law allows those within these criteria in Ohio to skip the eight-hour training, submit an application through their local sheriff’s office and pass a background check in order to obtain, carry and conceal a firearm.
The Buckeye Firearm Association director Joe Eaton said the organization has been working for almost two decades to get permitless carry enacted in the state.
“The Buckeye Firearm Association is very excited to finally see permitless carry,” Eaton told ABC News. “It gives crime victims one more alternative for how they choose to protect themselves.”
Michael Weinman, governmental affairs chair of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, said the organization has been fighting this law and is still opposed to it.
Weinman said permitless carry will make it easier for people who don’t know how to safely use guns to have them.
“When we did have a conceal carry permit, thousands were revoked or suspended each year. That means that every year, there are law-abiding people that become not law-abiding people,” Weinman told ABC News. “[With this law] there are just more guns on the street and less laws with them.”
Weinman said the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police is in favor of having permits and requiring background checks.
According to the Ohio Attorney General’s office, 2,300 concealed carry licenses were suspended or revoked in 2021, and 2,047 were revoked or suspended in 2020.
The office reports that the number of concealed carry licenses across Ohio went from 54,426 in 2019 to 94,298 in 2021.
More than 108,000 licenses were renewed in 2021, a 50% increase from 2020, according to the office.
However, there was also a 50% increase in the number of licenses denied in 2021 from 2020.
According to Everytown, an anti-gun violence organization, Ohio is ranked 30th in the country for gun law strength, citing incidents of gun violence and the lack of gun control laws in the state.
Ohio is now the 23rd state in the U.S. to allow permitless carry.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.