Answers to Common Questions about Ohio’s New Permitless Carry Law
Senate Bill 215 has been signed into law and will make it legal to carry a concealed handgun without a license in Ohio beginning on June 13, 2022.
Generally referred to as “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry,” this legislation will make several important changes to Ohio’s concealed carry laws:
- Ohio’s concealed handgun license (CHL) will become optional. If you are currently qualified by law to obtain a CHL and carry concealed, you will be able to carry concealed without a license beginning on June 13, 2022. Other than school zones where federal law still requires a CHL, nothing changes regarding who can carry, what you can carry (a handgun), or where you can carry. The same rights and responsibilities apply whether you have a CHL or not.
- You will no longer be required to “promptly” inform. Current law says that if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, you must “promptly” inform that officer if you are carrying a concealed handgun. In addition, you must inform every other officer you encounter. When the new law goes into effect, you will need to inform only when or if the officer asks if you are carrying a handgun. And you are obligated to only inform the first officer who asks.
- In Ohio, you will no longer be required to carry the CHL. If you choose to obtain a concealed handgun license, you will no longer be required to carry the physical license on your person while carrying a handgun. However, other states may still require you to have your license with you.
Here are two references for further details on this new law:
Note that if you're unfamiliar with how legislation is written, reading the text of Ohio Revised Code may be confusing. You cannot read isolated sections of law without also reading and understanding ALL related code sections and how they interact if you want to understand the real-world effect of the law.
That's why it's helpful to read the LSC summary and analysis. And it's why we are providing information about the new law in plain English.
After working to get this new law passed, Buckeye Firearms Association has received a lot of questions about how this law will affect people in their everyday lives. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.
Will Ohio scrap the licensing system?
No. The CHL will continue to be available for those who wish to have it. Those who travel outside of Ohio may want to have a valid license to carry legally in other states. The license simply becomes optional for those who carry a concealed handgun in Ohio.
Will the CHL application process change in any way?
No. The new law does not change anything about the licensing process. The application, fees, training, and other requirements will remain the same. This is important in order to maintain all the reciprocity agreements with other states.
I applied for an Ohio CHL and was denied. Can I now carry without a license?
No. Nothing changes regarding who can legally carry a concealed handgun. You must still be a “qualifying” adult, meaning you are at least 21 years of age, not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, not a fugitive from justice, etc. Refer to the concealed carry manual available at the Ohio Attorney General’s website for more complete information.
Does this change how I carry in my vehicle?
No. You will be able to carry a concealed handgun in your car with or without a CHL. You do not have to unload. You do not have to make the handgun visible. You can have loaded handguns and magazines on your person or stored anywhere in your vehicle.
Does this change how I transport long guns in my vehicle?
No. Carrying concealed, with or without a license, deals with a loaded handgun only. Transporting rifles and shotguns remains the same, meaning you must transport them unloaded, in a closed container, with ammunition in a separate container or closed compartment, in your trunk or in an area not accessible without leaving your vehicle.
Can I carry in a bar, courthouse, church, etc.?
Per federal law, you will still need a CHL to carry in a school zone in your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, your handgun must be secured and locked in your vehicle. Otherwise, nothing changes about where you can or cannot carry a concealed handgun. Areas that are currently no-carry zones will remain no-carry zones. Property owners will still be able to post no-gun signs.
Can I carry without a license in other states?
That depends on the laws of other states. Ohio law applies to Ohio only. When traveling to other states, you will need to abide by the laws of each state you’re in. References include the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States, a book we sell at BuckeyeFirearms.org, and HandgunLaw.us, a website that provides information on the carry laws of each state.
Can non-residents carry concealed without a license?
Yes. While the rules for carrying a concealed handgun remain the same with or without a license, there will be no residency requirement when this law goes into effect. Someone who is otherwise a “qualifying” adult may carry with or without a license whether they reside in Ohio or another state.
Can you conceal rifles and shotguns now?
Surprisingly, someone actually did ask this question. We’re not sure exactly how someone would carry concealed rifles and shotguns other than under a long trench coat. However, the answer is no. Ohio’s concealed carry laws apply to handguns only.
What about storing a handgun in your personal vehicle in an employer’s parking lot?
The new law does not change your right to carry to and from work and to store your handgun in your personally-owned car or truck on company property. Your rights remain the same with or without a CHL. If you drive a company-owned vehicle, your employer may have different rules about whether or not you can carry or store a handgun in their vehicle.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.