What SB184 means to you: Part III – Official Stops

By Jim Irvine

SB184 is 75 pages. It will go into effect on September 09, 2008. This is part of a series of articles looking at specific sections of the bill and how it will affect you. Keep in mind that I am not an attorney and this does not constitute legal advice. Concealed carry license holders are required to read the Attorney General guide. I highly recommend “The Ohio Guide to Firearms Laws” by Ken Hanson, Esq. (NOW AVAILABLE: Update for SB184).

It has been said by law enforcement spokesmen and printed in many papers that this bill will eliminate the requirement of a CHL to notify police that they are armed during an official stop such as a traffic stop. That is not correct. CHL’s are still required to notify all law enforcement officers that they are armed during any official stop.

ORC Sec 2923.16(E) (3) (a)
If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose, fail to promptly inform any law enforcement officer who approaches the vehicle while stopped that the person has been issued a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun and that the person then possesses or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle:

Nothing has changed with regard to your duties during a law enforcement encounter.

You still must:

  • Keep your hands in plain sight at all times.
  • Promptly notify the officer and any subsequent officers that you are a CHL and you are armed.
  • You may not touch the gun during the stop unless you are explicitly instructed to do so.
  • You may not get out of the vehicle unless you are explicitly instructed to do so.
  • You must abide by all lawful directions of the police officer during the stop.

Failure to comply with all of these items subjects you to criminal prosecution and possible loss of your CHL and possible fines and prison.

What has changed is the penalty for failing to notify an officer that you are armed if the officer had actual knowledge that you were a licensee.

ORC Sec 2923.128 (A)(2)(c)
The licensee of a licensee who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of division (B) (1) of section 2923.12 or division (E) (3) of section 2923.16 of the Revised Code shall not be suspended pursuant to division (A) (2) (a) of this section if, at the time of the stop of the licensee for a law enforcement purpose, for a traffic stop, or for a purpose defined in section 5503.34 of the Revised Code that was the basis of the violation, any law enforcement officer involved with the stop or the employee of the motor carrier enforcement unit who made the stop had actual knowledge of the licensee’s status as a licensee.

It is important to understand that the burden of proof will be on you to show that the officer had actual knowledge of your status as a license holder. Depending on the circumstances, this could be difficult. Even if you can prove the officer knew you had a license, you are still required to notify the officer. The only change is that your license will not be suspended as part of the penalty for failure to notify if you can prove the officer had knowledge that you had been issued a CHL.

Over the years, traffic stops have been the number one place where good people have found themselves in trouble with the law. Practice how you will handle a traffic stop. No matter what the officer asks when you are first approached, you should respond with something similar to, “Officer, I have a valid concealed handgun license and I am (am not) armed. How would you like to proceed?”

Practice reciting your notification while sitting in your car with your hands on the steering wheel. Practice it often. Your opening exchange with an officer will help set the tone for the stop. Demonstrate that you know the law, comply with the law, and respect officer and the job they are doing. You will most likely get treated with that same respect in return.

Hanson's "The Ohio Guide to Firearms Laws” updated to reflect SB184 changes

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