Concealed Carry Law Enforcement Notification: Is it a duty, or a courtesy?
by Aaron Kirkingburg
State Representative Ron Maag introduced House Bill 422 and House Bill 425 this week to help strengthen the right of Ohio Concealed Carry licensees', as well as out-of-state visitors, to protect themselves without unintentionally becoming a criminal. Both of these bills will address real problems within Ohio's CCW law. Those of us here at Buckeye Firearms Association would like to express our gratitude, on behalf of all CCW licensees across the nation, for Mr. Maag's willingness to stand up for better laws, that will protect each and every one of us!
The anti-freedom/ anything-gun-related crowd out there would have you believe that HB422 will take away the "need to warn police officers when they have a gun, whether in a motor vehicle or walking down the street" (quote: news.cincinnati.com ) when nothing could be further from the truth. As an NRA Certified Instructor who teaches the class required to get a CHL in Ohio, I understand the misinformation like no one else! The NEED to inform a law enforcement officer that you are legally carrying a firearm for protection of life will NEVER go away! What this bill WILL do is remove the DUTY to inform the officer. You see, we instructors teach our students the vital importance of notifying an officer that a firearm is present. Currently, under Ohio law, there is no duty to inform the officer when a CHL holder is not carrying a firearm. However, we still teach our students to inform an officer as a courtesy even when we aren't carrying our firearms.
Ohio is one of the few states that requires by law that the license holder inform an officer during an encounter with police. Most states simply leave it at the level of courtesy, and that is that. Time has proven that Concealed Handgun Licensees are among the most law-abiding, and courteous citizens in society ("an armed society is a polite society"). What makes these people think we will suddenly become reckless and rude because we can no longer be arrested for failing to notify the officer? Do they really think we are interested in risking the possibility of being shot when an officer notices a gun and perceives us as reaching for that instead of our seatbelt or wallet? To think that we will simply stop notifying police that we are armed, just because it is no longer required by law is absurd! This law will simply end the court battles and legal problems for citizens who are not willing to interrupt an officer "in a timely enough manner" to inform them that they are armed.
As for HB425 allowing citizens to keep their firearms in the car when they park on "Ohio Building Authority" property (state house parking garage, etc.) is simply common sense. Not only does this law force visitors to disarm, but it forces our legislators to as well. You might think it is simply in the parking garage, but it basically means you are disarmed for the entire day (visitors) and for the vast majority of your life (legislators). After all, we spend the majority of our waking hours traveling to, diligently applying ourselves to, and returning from work. Do you ever stop to get gas on the way home from work? How about the grocery store? Have you ever left immediately after work for a weekend, or extended trip? Keeping someone from having their firearms in their vehicle can effectively disarm them for most of their life.
Though we do not have a law barring employers from prohibiting their employees from keeping their firearms in their cars as some states do, this is one small step in the right direction. All other "government" owned parking facilities have already been removed from the "prohibited" list. When I visit the state house to support the passage of better gun laws for Ohio, shouldn't I be allowed to exercise my constitutional right on the property I, as a citizen of this state, consider mine? Whose property is it, truly? We say we live in a free society. Yet many would take other people's freedom, for their own illusion of security. I say: Freedom isn't Free!
Aaron Kirkingburg is a NRA Certified Instructor (CCW, PPITH, RSO), a NRA Life Member, and a Buckeye Firearms Association Minuteman.