Bill introduced to allow guns in restaurants and fix car carry rules

Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) today announced that a bill refining concealed carry statutes has been introduced in the Ohio Senate. The bill is designed to update Ohio's current concealed carry laws to make them more consistent with those in other states.

Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Senator Tim Schaffer (R- Lancaster) introduced SB239 which will allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm in restaurants. To do so, license holders may not consume any alcohol and must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to OpenCarry.org, 42 states (including every state that borders Ohio) allow non-drinking license holders to carry firearms in restaurants.

The Jones/Schaffer bill also reduces burdensome restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a car. Currently, Ohio is the only state to place such complex limitations on license holders. Violation of these restrictions can result in felony charges that are mostly of an "administrative" nature and do not involve any intent to do harm. Still, violation of these complex rules can result in costly court proceedings and incarceration for the license holder.

"This bill makes Ohio's laws more consistent with the norm for what other states are doing," said Senator Jones. "Six years after concealed carry became law in Ohio we have not experienced the lawlessness or 'doom and gloom' predictions that some claimed would come true. Ohio gun owners have proven themselves just as responsible as those in other states, and this refinement of our concealed carry laws is a logical next step to help our citizens legally protect themselves and their families."

For more information and the full text of the bill, visit:
http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_SB_239

Senators Schaffer and Jones have released the following press release in conjunction with the bill's introduction:

Senators Jones and Schaffer Introduce Bill to Update Ohio's Concealed Carry Law

Legislation would clarify how weapons must be carried in a vehicle and eliminate restriction against carrying a concealed weapon in restaurants that serve alcohol

COLUMBUS— State Senators Shannon Jones (R- Springboro) and Tim Schaffer (R- Lancaster) today introduced Senate Bill 239, which seeks to clarify Ohio's concealed carry laws regarding the transportation of a firearm in a vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon in restaurants that serve alcohol.

Currently, of the 48 states with a concealed carry license, Ohio is the only state that specifies how a firearm must be carried while in a vehicle. These storage provisions can cause issues for licensed visitors traveling through Ohio in the event they are pulled over for a traffic violation. SB 239 simply removes the provisions that state where a gun must be stored, while maintaining the current safeguards and penalties in place to protect law enforcement, licensees and others during a traffic stop.

"The decision six years ago to allow law-abiding Ohioans to carry concealed weapons has not turned our state into the Wild West," Jones said. "It is time to update the law so that it works better. This legislation will improve the regulations for carrying so that they are more straightforward and in line with other states."

Additionally, SB 239 would remove the restriction on carrying a concealed weapon into a restaurant that serves alcohol, even if the licensee is not consuming alcohol. Ohio is one of only a few states with this prohibition. The bill does not affect current law that prohibits a person from possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"Senate Bill 239 will make Ohio's concealed carry laws consistent with those in the majority of other states and ensure that those with concealed carry licenses, whether from Ohio or another state, can travel and enjoy Ohio's hospitality industry without fear of breaking the law," Schaffer said. "These proposed changes will improve upon the foundation of the concealed weapons permit and make sure we protect the right of our citizens to bear arms."

Ohio's current concealed carry laws were originally enacted in 2004. Since then, roughly 200,000 licenses have been issued by county sheriffs across Ohio. Senate Bill 239 will now be assigned to a standing Senate committee for further review.

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