HB495: Definition of "unloaded" gun is now fixed for all Ohioans; "No Guns" signs come down in Statehouse parking garage

by Ken Hanson and Sean Maloney

HB495, sponsored by Rep. Terry Johnson (R) and passed into law last December, became effective March 27, 2013, and is now the law of the land. The reforms make three changes to current law:

  • Eliminates the "demonstrated competency" requirement for second and future CHL renewals, making CHL training similar to a hunting license.
  • Fixes the definition of a "loaded gun" to match the commonly accepted definition.
  • Allows law-abiding gun owners to have their firearms stored in their cars in the state-owned parking garages such as the one under the Statehouse.

There are now ways to have a loaded magazine in your vehicle.

The definition of "unloaded" is amended in R.C. 2923.16(K)(5) and (6).

The new law allows anyone to have a loaded magazine or speed loader in the vehicle. THERE IS A TWO TIER approach to this.

For someone who does not have a Concealed Handgun License, that person may have loaded magazines or speed loaders in the vehicle so long as:

  1. The magazine or speed loader does not fit any firearm being transported in the vehicle; or
  2. The magazine or speed loader is in a compartment reachable only by leaving the vehicle; or
  3. The magazine or speed loader is in a closed package, box or case that has multiple compartments (i.e. a gun case) as long as the magazine or speed loader is in a separate compartment in the closed package, box or case from the firearm, OR, if the closed package, box or case only has one compartment, the magazine or firearm is separately enclosed in something using a snap, buckle, zipper, button, hook and loop etc. (My best stab at this is it is a one compartment gun case, the gun or the magazine/speed loader would need to be in some sort of pouch that is closed.); or
  4. The magazine or speed loader is on the person of the occupant in a pocket that is closed using a snap, buckle, zipper, button or hook and loop.

For someone with a CHL, they may have a loaded magazine in the vehicle anyway they wish, so long as any magazine for a non-handgun is not inserted into the non-handgun. (i.e. a loaded rifle magazine may be anywhere in the vehicle as long as it isn’t inserted into the rifle.)

In addition to that important change, two other changes were made.

For applicants who seek their second renewal of their concealed handgun licenses from March 27 forward will not be required to provide a renewed competency certificate. This change makes the concealed handgun license much like a driver's license or hunting license in that one test of competency is all that is required.

Finally, HB495 gave Ohio handgun licensees permission to store our guns, in our vehicles, parked in the State House Parking Garage in Columbus, Ohio. Representatives Ron Maag (R-62) and Terry Johnson (R-90), after working to pass the law, took time out of their schedules this week for a little manual labor - they removed the "no-guns" signs themselves!

Thank you, Reps. Maag and Johnson, for all your work. We know this is just the beginning, 2013 is going to be a very good year for freedom in Ohio!

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