If Ohio Was Like Kentucky

By Chris Chumita and Jim Irvine

Ohio concealed carry license holders are still celebrating the passage of HB347 and the improvements it made to Ohio’s concealed carry law. In the last few years, we have been slowly taking back our Second Amendment rights. A recent trip to Kentucky reminded us how far behind we are. Kentucky is a decade ahead of Ohio with firearms reform. We have joked about how some of our legal and safe actions were considered felonies in Ohio. Of course it’s no joke to those who have been charged with felonies for an innocent misunderstanding.

As we mentioned in our recap article, several Buckeye Firearms Association representatives attended the Second Amendment Foundation's Leadership Conference in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

Kentucky is very gun friendly and they believe that our Second Amendment rights are not based upon state lines. That is why they honor every other state's concealed handgun license. Ohio requires a reciprocity agreement between states before an out of state license is honored. Currently Ohio recognizes 16 other states. Kentucky is one of eleven states to honor a license from 48 states.

While in Kentucky, we were able to experience almost total freedom relating to where we were able to carry our handguns. When compared to Ohio, Kentucky seems to have very few places that are off limits to concealed carry.

One of the most notable is that Kentucky allows a concealed handgun license holder to carry concealed into an establishment that serves alcohol. It was wonderful to be able to walk into any restaurant and eat while carrying a firearm. Had a life-threatening situation occurred, we were prepared. In Ohio, our guns must be left in the car.

Like Ohio, a license is not required to openly carry a handgun in Kentucky. However, the attitudes towards open carry couldn't be more different. In Kentucky, open carry is widely accepted by the general public. While in Kentucky, I carried in the open one evening, and I didn't get one single backwards glance or shocked expression.

When it comes to Ohio, open carry is a totally different animal. It is far from being accepted by the general public and law enforcement. Despite being legal, it may lead to broad charges such as "Inducing Panic".

Kentucky respects the rights of citizens to carry their loaded handguns openly in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a license. While in Kentucky, one does not need a license to have a loaded gun on the seat beside them. In Ohio, even with a CHL, that is a felony.

In Kentucky, our CHL allowed us to carry a firearm while parking in a government parking garage (illegal in Ohio). We could also walk into the airport to meet someone, help them with their bags, or assist them to the ticket counter (all illegal in Ohio). In Kentucky parents can pick-up/drop-off children at school (illegal in Ohio) and one may carry for self-defense on college campuses (illegal in Ohio). We could also attend any church service on Sunday morning (illegal in Ohio) without needing to find the right person to obtain permission first. We could use the bathroom at a highway rest stop (illegal in Ohio) and in general go about our business, without special attention to where we were.

Our friends in Kentucky were saddened to learn that in Ohio an employer could dictate what personal property one could store in their own personal vehicle at work. Kentucky law does not allow employer policy to trample constitutional rights - including to and from work - as Ohio law allows.

Ohio did join Kentucky and finally passed a statewide preemption law, which went into effect on March 14, 2007. This law is widely considered common sense and non-controversial, but required a veto override to enact in Ohio. Special thanks are owed to all our friends who voted to override an out-of-touch (and now thankfully out of office) governor.

To demonstrate how important perspective is, our friends from Indiana consider Kentucky’s concealed carry laws overly restrictive. They have a concealed carry license that never expires, requires no training to obtain, and has even fewer restrictions than Kentucky. Neither state has experienced the mayhem the anti-gunners and “mainstream” media will regurgitate as we reform our laws to be more like our neighboring states.

The trip to Kentucky was an exciting and inspiring experience. The many activities we enjoyed safely and legally, (many of which are illegal in Ohio) serve as a reminder of how much work we have to do and how great the reward will be when we achieve it.

The trip was an inspiration to fight even harder to take back our rights.

We hope you will join us in our fight and volunteer or make a donation to help us restore your rights. With your help, we will make Ohio a more "gun friendly" state.

Chris Chumita is a volunteer, leader, and editor with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Jim Irvine is the chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Editors note: This article does NOT constitute legal advice. Consult an attorney if you have any legal questions concerning firearms in any state.

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