House committee passes HB 454 (Rule Modification for Concealed Carry in School Zones)

The House Education Committee, chaired by Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster), passed amended HB 454 today on a 16-3 vote. The bill, sponsored by Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville), seeks to correct several problems with current law regarding concealed handgun licenses' behavior in school zones.

Current law is a mess, making it a felony offense for those with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to partake in normal activates while in possession of their firearms. It is currently illegal for licensees to drop off their spouse, a child’s lunch or medicine, sign their child out of the nurse’s office, or even to get out and hug their little girl if she falls and scrapes her knee. Rather than requiring that the license-holder remain in the vehicle, HB 454 would require that the firearm be remain in the vehicle. The bill also makes it clear that it is permissible to pick up or drop off any person or item, as opposed to just “a child.”

Before voting HB 454 out of committee, the committee agreed to without objection to an amendment offered by Andy Brenner (R-Powell).

The amendment makes two changes to the bill. It deletes reference to 18 U.S.C. 922(q)(2)(B). This reference is not needed and the deletion does not materially change current law, or HB 454. It is a practical impossibility to be in compliance with 2923.122 but not be in compliance with 18 U.S.C. (q)(2)(B). The amendment makes the law easier to read and understand without needing to look up federal law.

The second change is to clarify that if a license holder exits the vehicle, they must lock their firearm inside the vehicle.

Buckeye Firearms Association President Jim Irvine offered the following verbal testimony to the committee in support of the bill:

Chairman Stebelton, Vice Chair Brenner, Ranking member Fedor and members of the House Education Committee. I speak today in support of House Bill 454.

O.R.C. Section 2923.122 has been one of the most problematic sections for concealed handgun license holders. It has proven difficult for license holders to comply with, causing problems for schools, parents, and prosecutors. HB 454 will better align Ohio with Federal law in school zones, and clearly allow normal activities that occur on school property every school day, while maintaining the existing prohibition for license holders carrying firearms at school activities or inside school buildings.

Current law forbids a person with a concealed handgun license from being on school property while in possession of their firearms unless they are “immediately in the process of picking up or dropping off a child.” HB 454 extends that exemption to other persons and objects.

HB 454 changes the mandate that the license holder remain in a vehicle, to requiring the firearm remain in the vehicle.

This is a simple bill that solves real problems while making the law easier to understand, comply with and enforce. We ask for your support for this legislation.

Respectfully submitted,

James Irvine

The committee also received written testimony opposing the bill from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Four Democrats joined twelve Republicans in voting for the bill. Only three voted against it - Reps. Teresa Fedor (D - Toledo) Nickie Antonio (D - Lakewood), and Denise Driehaus (D - Clifton).

Click here to view the bill as passed by the committee.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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