Latest Guns & Ammo "Best States for Gun Owners" shows improvement for Ohio, with work still to do
Since 2013, GunsandAmmo.com has ranked the 50 united States and Washington D.C. according to "Best States for Gun Owners."
The 50 united States and Washington D.C. are ranked by Guns & Ammo on the following criteria:
- Right to Carry
- Black Rifles
- Castle Doctrine
- Miscellaneous (incl. red flag laws, preemption statutes, as well as the availability of places to shoot, etc.).
Here are GunsandAmmo.com's rankings over the past seven years:
2013 - 35th
2014 - 36th
2015 - 35th
2016 - 31st
2017 - 29th
2018 - 28th
2019 - 23rd
2019 marked the biggest jump for Ohio in the seven year history of the rankings - five places. The reason?
Guns & Ammo specifically cited passage of Buckeye Firearms Association-endorsed SB 228 - legislation that shifted the burden of proof back to the prosecutor so that citizens are innocent until proven guilty, strengthened "preemption" provisions in Ohio law that prevent local governments from passing their own gun laws, aligned the definition of "shotgun" to mirror Federal law to end the confusion about the Mossberg Shockwave and similar firearms that are currently legal under federal law but illegal under Ohio state law, and more.
The legislature had to override a veto of then-Governor John Kasich to see SB 228 become law. At the time of its passage, a few "no compromise, all or nothing" critics claimed that SB 228 "didn't really do anything." TheGuns & Ammo rankings clearly prove otherwise.
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.
In fact, this is the first year Buckeye State wasn't ranked in bottom half of states when it comes to gun rights. 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 23rd ranking proves there is still much work to be done.
As we enter the second half 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 15th anniversary in 2019, Ohio ranks behind states like Kansas (4th) and Wisconsin (21st), both of which passed CCW laws more recently.
Ohio also falls behind more than half of its border states. Pennsylvania is 32nd, and Michigan, which passed concealed carry one year before Ohio, ranks 27th. Kentucky is ranked 6th, West Virginia ranks 15th, and Indiana comes in 20th.
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 381 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 2020 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 want your vote in November. 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 BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.