April 8 becomes June 7? One Ohio newspaper thinks it's a definite

Questions remain on concealed carry

February 25, 2004
Mt. Vernon News

MOUNT VERNON — In the wake of the recent passing of the concealed carry law (H.B. 12), many questions still remain. For instance, when exactly will one be able to apply for a permit? How much training does one need, and where is it available?

The concealed carry law officially goes into effect on April 8. However, the public will not be able to apply for permits until approximately 60 days after that date. The Ohio Attorney General’s office has 30 days after April 8 to submit a set of rules that will govern the permit process. After these rules are submitted and approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, the OAG has 30 days to make application forms, instructional pamphlets and license forms available to county sheriffs.

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Once the forms have been distributed to county sheriffs, an individual may apply for a permit in the county in which he or she resides, or from a sheriff in a county directly adjacent to his or her resident county.

The permit process involves an application that must be filled out, as well as a background check that will be performed by the sheriff’s office where the application is submitted. A fee of up to $45 may be charged for the permit. However, if an applicant has been an Ohio resident for less than five years, a federal criminal history check will be made at the cost of the applicant. The cost of this history check will be in addition to the permit fee.

Applicants must have taken a minimum of 12 hours of training, including two hours on a firing range. Applicants who are not current or former members of the military or law enforcement can only get training from instructors certified by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Commission or the National Rifle Association.

A list of OPOTC certified trainers will soon be made available on the Ohio Attorney General’s Web site, www.ag.state.oh.us. A list of classes by certified NRA trainers is available on their Web site, www.nra.org. Individuals may also contact their local firing range for information on certified instructors.

Kim Norris of the Ohio Attorney General’s office emphasized that individuals should double-check that their trainer has the proper qualifications and provides at least the amount of training required under the law before paying for the training. Norris also said individuals should ask whether there is a refund if their training is deemed inadequate by the sheriff’s office where the permit will be submitted.

Individuals do not have to wait until applying for a permit before receiving their training. In fact, they are encouraged to receive their 12 hours of training prior to applying for a permit. This will speed up the application process, since the permit cannot be granted until the training is complete. If an individual has received adequate training from a certified instructor within three years prior to applying for a permit, no further training is required.

Once a permit is granted, an individual must carry both the permit and a valid government ID, such as a driver’s license, whenever he or she carries a concealed handgun. If an individual is stopped by an officer and found to be without both of these items, he or she is subject to arrest and may be charged with a fourth-degree felony for improper carrying of a concealed handgun.

It is important to note there are only three ways a loaded gun may be carried in a vehicle by a permitted individual: In a holster on the individual, locked in the glove compartment of the vehicle, or locked in a gun case with the case in plain sight. If an officer discovers a loaded gun in a vehicle stored in any other way, the driver and any passengers in the vehicle are subject to arrest.

In addition, if a driver fails to inform an officer that there is a concealed gun in the vehicle, the driver and any passengers are subject to arrest.

The new law prohibits carrying a concealed weapon in certain areas, such as government buildings and school zones. If an individual is found violating this provision, he or she may be charged with a fifth-degree felony.

Joel Smith, director of Safety and Security at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, said most weapons are currently prohibited on MVNU’s campus. An exception is made for hunting weapons, which must be registered with security and housed in the security office. Smith said MVNU plans to add a statement in the Student Handbook specifically prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons on MVNU’s campus.

Dan Werner, director of Safety and Security at Kenyon College, said guns have been prohibited on campus for some time. He said if students call ahead, special arrangements may be made to house hunting weapons at an off-campus location.

Employers are given the discretion under the new law to prohibit patrons and/or employees from carrying concealed handguns on the premises of their businesses. Any company that does not allow concealed handguns on the premises must post a sign at the entrance to the facility stating its policy.

Sharon Weber, a public relations representative from Wal-Mart, said, “After much consideration, we will not post restrictions about the carrying of handguns [in Wal-Mart stores].” She added, “Obviously, if you can’t see them, no one knows they’re there. If you can see [the gun], we reserve the right to ask that person to leave.”

Gary Hyman of Rolls-Royce in Mount Vernon said they “already have a policy in place” that prohibits employees from carry guns onto the premises. Pat McClarnan, human relations, said they are still working out a policy for visitors to the Mount Vernon business. He said they are discussing with the corporate office whether to post signs prohibiting concealed weapons, and if so, how to word them.

“It’s a sensitive issue,” he said, adding that it should be resolved in a few days.
For more information on issues pertaining to the concealed carry law, visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website or call the local sheriff’s office.

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