HB 203 (Concealed Carry & Self-Defense Law Reform) scheduled for third hearing in House

Chairman Mike Dovilla has announced that the Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee will be hearing proponent and opponent testimony on Representative Terry Johnson's (R-McDermott) HB 203 this Wednesday, November 13 at 9:30 a.m. in Statehouse Room 115. This will be the third hearing for this important bill.

Any persons who are interested in testifying are welcome to contact Jim Irvine ([email protected]) for help in preparing and coordinating your testimony.

Buckeye Firearms Association has previously testified in support of the bill.

HB 203 seeks to make many improvements to Ohio's concealed carry laws.

The bill would strengthen the background checks required to obtain an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL). Under the bill, Ohio concealed handgun license (CHL) applicants would be a National Instant Check System (NICS)-compliant background check, making it compatible with more states. This improvement will also help prevent people with mental health disqualifiers who have been entered into the federal database from obtaining a CHL.

The bill would also move Ohio to an automatic reciprocity system, relieving the Attorney General from needing to sign agreements with every state to facilitate reciprocity. The Attorney General would still be permitted to sign agreements if needed, but the bill seeks to streamline the process and open up agreements with states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Georgia that Ohio doesn't currently have agreements with.

The bill would also update the requirements and disqualifications to obtain an CHL. Currently there are different standards to possess a gun under federal and state law, and different still to obtain a CHL. HB 203 harmonizes Ohio law with federal law so that someone who is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm will not be issued a CHL. Ohio would also be able to issue licenses to out-of-state residents, something many other states already do.

Under the bill, the current topics required for Ohio CHL training would remain, but the mandate that an instructor spend 12 hours covering the topics that can be covered adequately in less time would be reduced to four hours.

Finally, HB 203 seeks to modify the state's self-defense law. Current law specifically states that a person has no duty to retreat before using deadly force if that person is in their own home or automobile. HB 203 would expand that to anyplace that a person lawfully has the right to be.

HB 203 is a collection of common-sense firearms law reforms. It also corrects problems with our current background checks and brings Ohio laws more in line with federal laws. It continues Ohio on a path to improving our laws by making life easier for the law-abiding gun owner.

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