Local governments move to allow concealed carry in public buildings
Two local government entities have or will soon take advantage of a Buckeye Firearms Association-backed bill, passed in late 2016, which allows the governing body of government buildings to enact “a statute, ordinance, or policy that permits a licensee to carry a concealed handgun into the building.”
In Tuscarawas County, commissioners have authorized certain employees to carry and use firearms in the Tuscarawas County Office Building to provide increased security in the facility for employees and the public.
“We’re not doing anything different than what a lot of other counties have done and school districts have done,” Commissioner Chris Abbuhl said. “We hope nobody ever has to use their weapon. This is putting another layer in place for the safety of employees and safety of the public.”
The employees would be prepared and equipped to defend and protect against an active shooter or other deadly threat.
According to the resolution, an employee would be allowed to carry a conceal weapon in the building if that person has:
- A valid Ohio Concealed Carry Handgun License;
- A certificate of completion of a training requirement as approved by the sheriff;
- A notarized handgun qualification certificate signed off by the sheriff and employee;
- Completed mental preparedness materials as approved by the sheriff;
- Approval of the employee’s appointing authority;
- Approval of the Concealed Handgun Committee;
- Met ongoing eligibility requirements by participating in annual training and qualifications as determined and conducted by the Tuscarawas County sheriff and/or his designee.
According to the article, the policy is similar to what is in place at Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services. Last year, commissioners approved allowing JFS employees to carry handguns as part of new safety-related policies at that agency. Those policies included new security doors and training for some employees to be equipped to handle certain types of situations as a rapid response team.
Meanwhile, the Lebanon City Council is reportedly close to permitting legal concealed carry at council meetings.
Members of Lebanon City Council with conceal-carry permits want to be allowed to arm themselves for night meetings.
They say they want to save money that otherwise would be spent on security and to be ready in case an active shooter picks one of their meetings, possibly drawn by signs barring those with deadly weapons.
[Councilman Joe] Shafer, along with Vice Mayor Mark Messer, expressed concern that signs warning those entering not to bring guns or other deadly weapons have the opposite effect on those bent on violence.
During the work session, Messer said active shooters go to public buildings — where guns are prohibited — to carry out their attacks.
“They are all gun-free zones. Imagine that,” Messer said.
The article goes on to say that at least one other city already permits concealed carry in public buildings - in Shelby, Ohio, Section 678.17 permits conceal-carry licensees to bring their guns into public buildings, except the courthouse.
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.