Latest Guns & Ammo "Best States for Concealed Carry" shows slight improvement for Ohio, with MUCH work still to do

Each year, Guns & Ammo ranks the “Best States for Gun Owners,” their survey of each state’s gun laws and firearms culture. In the past, Guns & Ammo has also focused on each state’s concealed carry laws but had not released a “Best States for Concealed Carry” piece since 2015. Lots has changed since then, and in 2020 the good people at Guns & Ammo decided it was time to revisit the subject.

From the article:

When our 2015 rankings were published, only a handful of states allowed for permitless or “Constitutional” carry while today, at least 16 states have those laws in place. This has really shaken-up our previous rankings. States that have not continued to move the ball forward have lost some serious ground while others have leapt ahead.

Unfortunately, despite overwhelming majorities of pro-gun Republicans in the House and Senate, Ohio is one of the states that has not continued to move the ball forward substantially.

From the 2015 rankings:

37. Ohio

The Buckeye State has a shall-issue system with good permit reciprocity among other states. Folks carrying in Ohio have a duty to inform law enforcement that they are carrying, and permits are not issued to non-residents.

The list of prohibited locations in Ohio is extensive, but legislation is currently moving that would eliminate many of those "defense-free zones." Ohio has some of the broadest reciprocity laws in the nation and recognizes permits from all issuing jurisdictions.

Permit fees are $13.40 per year.

Jumping ahead five years to the 2020 rankings, Ohio has only moved three spots:

34. Ohio has a shall-issue system with good permit reciprocity among other states. Nearly 6% of Ohioans have carry permits. Folks carrying in the Buckeye State have a duty to inform law enforcement that they are carrying, and permits are not issued to non-residents. Ohio has some of the broadest reciprocity in the nation and recognizes permits from all issuing jurisdictions—38 states honor Ohio permits. Fees are $13.40 per year.

While this chart shows we've made some improvements to our laws, other states are continually making improvements too. As such, despite Republicans having had complete control of the General Assembly and governor's mansion since 2010, only small progress has been made each year to reform our gun laws.

Despite the fact that support for the Second Amendment enjoys prominence in the platform of a Republican party which has dominated state politics for most of the past two decades, Ohio's 34th place ranking proves there is still much work to be done.

As we enter the final days of the 133rd General Assembly, it is imperative that Ohio's pro-gun legislators get to work sending legislation with strong pro-gun rights improvements to Governor DeWine.

Although our concealed carry law passed its 16th anniversary in 2020, Ohio ranks behind states like Kansas (2nd) and Wisconsin (27th), both of which passed CCW laws more recently.

Ohio also falls behind every single one of its border states. Michigan, which passed concealed carry one year before Ohio, ranks 33rd. Pennsylvania is 25th, Indiana comes in 15th, West Virginia ranks 10th, and Kentucky is ranked 4th.

If they want to continue the work necessary to bring the Buckeye State into the 21st century when it comes to gun rights, Ohio's pro-gun rights legislators have their work cut out for them. No significant pro-gun legislation has been sent to the governor's desk since December 2018.

Legislators should act quickly to send SB 237/ HB 425 and many other pro-gun bills that are pending to the governor's desk, or they will die at the end of December.

Additionally, legislators must defeat SB 221, HB 354 and other pending gun control legislation. Should any of those bills pass, Ohio would no doubt fall dramatically when the 2021 Guns & Ammo rankings are released.

If you want to see the General Assembly act to improve gun rights in ways that are already enjoyed by the majority of other states, call your Representative and Senator NOW and tell them you expect pro-gun rights legislation to move in Ohio, and that they should oppose all gun control legislation. They wanted your vote on Election Day. Tell them we want their votes too.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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