Ohio Gun Rights Timeline - A Journey Towards Freedom

As law-abiding citizens celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ohio's concealed handgun licensure law,  we thought it would be helpful to document the Buckeye State's more than 225 year-history of gun rights, with specific focus on efforts to restore the rights all Ohioans once enjoyed. Despite much progress, the fight is far from over!

1788

July
  • The first Ohio law to establish and regulate a militia is published in Marietta. It mandates all men between 16 and 50 perform military duty. They are required to arm themselves with a musket and bayonet, a cartridge box, powder horn, one pound of powder and four pounds of lead. They also are ordered to drill every Sunday.
November
  • Fines are implemented for those who fail to meet the militia requirements. For example, a soldier with no musket and bayonet has to pay 50 cents. Those who fail to show up for drill are fined 25 cents. Refusing guard duty costs them $1. And failure to serve in case of invasion means a court-martial.

1791

  • Lawmakers change the day of the weekly militia drills to Saturday. Those who drill don't have to go to church on Sunday. But those who attend church services - with their guns - are exempt from drill.

1802

  • Ohio's first state Constitution is adopted, and includes the following: "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be kept up, and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to the civil power."  (Art. VIII, § 20.)

1851

  • Ohio's state Constitution is amended, and the right to bear arms is restated as follows: "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."  (Art. I, § 4)

1859

  • A law banning the carrying of concealed weapons is adopted by state legislators.

1974

January
  • Ohio's long-held ban on concealed carry is modified to provide an affirmative defense to the charge of concealed carry if they could prove circumstances such as would justify a prudent person in going armed. (ORC 2923.12)

1993

  • Arnold v. Cleveland - Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court reverses lower court ruling, upholds local gun bans.

1995

  • S.B. 68, a "may issue" concealed carry bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vukovich (D), is passed by the Ohio Senate with a veto-proof margin. Opposition from Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson (R) and then Gov. George Voinovich (R) kills the bill. At least two "shall issue" concealed carry  bills in the Ohio House are also not allowed to advance.

1997

  • Rep. Joy Padget (R) introduces H.B. 504 - a "shall issue" concealed handgun licensure bill. Opposition from Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson (R) and then Gov. George Voinovich (R) kills the bill.

1999

February
  • Rep. Joy Padget (R) introduces H.B. 165 - a "shall issue" concealed handgun licensure bill. Opposition from Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson (R) and then Gov. Bob Taft (R) kills the bill.
May
  • Ohioans for Concealed Carry Inc. is formed.  Petition drive is started and thousands upon thousands of signatures are collected supporting concealed carry in Ohio.
September
  • Pat Feely is arrested in Cincinnati for violating Ohio's ban on concealed carry, and, after consultation with Cincinnati resident Chuck Klein, agrees to become a test case to challenge the consitutionality of Ohio's ban on concealed carry.

2000

May
July
  • Klein v. Leis is filed in Hamilton County with Feely as one of the plaintiffs. The suit challenges the constitutionality of Ohio's ban on concealed carry.

2001

May
  • Rep. Jim Aslanides (R) introduces H.B. 274 - a "shall issue" concealed handgun licensure Bill.
December
  • Klein v. Leis goes to trial in Hamilton County before Judge Robert Ruehlman.

2002

January
  • Judge Ruehlman declares Ohio's ban on concealed carry to be unconstitutional, and issues an injunction. Concealed carry is momentarily legal in Hamilton County.
March
  • Ohio House passes H.B. 274.
April
  • Ohio First District Court upholds trial court ruling in Klein v. Leis. Concealed carry is momentarily legal in Ohio First District.
September
December
  • Gov. Bob Taft (R) adds new conditions for H.B. 274 to have his support.
  • Ohio Senate passes H.B. 274 with many of Gov. Taft's new restrictions in place but lacking one of his egregious 'poison pill' requirements.
  • Ohio House does not return to vote on concurrence with Senate amendments, and H.B. 274 dies at end of session.

2003

January
March
  • Ohio House passes H.B. 12 with a veto-proof majority.
June
  • Gov. Taft announces that he will only sign the legislation if it is amended to include language forcing license-holders to lock up their firearms in their motor vehicles if minor-aged persons are present.
  • Ohio Senate passes Amended H.B. 12 with a veto-proof majority after inserting Taft's 'Car-jacker Protection' poison-pill language.
  • Ohio House does not concur with additional Senate restrictions.
September
  • Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court reverses lower court rulings, upholds Ohio's ban on CCW in Klein vs Leis.
  • Open Carry 'Defense Walks' bring media attention to the Ohio gun rights battle, presenting a "visual display" of the choice facing legislators and citizens - open carry, or concealed carry.
October
  • Open Carry 'Defense Walks' continue, including a march in the hometown of Senate President Doug White (R).
  • After months of delay, Sen. White assigns conferees to a committee that will seek to work out a compromise bill that will meet the approval of Gov. Taft.
November
December
  • Open Carry 'Defense Walks' continue.
  • House and Senate conferees approve compromise language, and an amended H.B. 12 that includes ability for journalists to access individual records of license-holders and that is no longer opposed by the law enforcement groups Gov. Taft has long-been hiding behind is passed in both chambers.
  • Gov. Taft immediately threatens a veto, saying the Media Access Loophole language he supports would allow the media ability to access to entire lists of license-holders.
  • House Speaker Larry Householder (R) says he has the votes to override a Taft veto.  Senate President White first says he does as well, then waffles, then admits he hasn't polled his members.

2004

January
  • The House and Senate amend H.B. 12 to include Taft's Media Access Loophole language and send the bill to his desk.
  • H.B. 12 is signed by Gov. Taft. Ohio becomes the 46th state to legalize concealed carry. Ohio's requirements are the most restrictive of any in the nation.
March
  • Cuyahoga Co. Sheriff Gerald McFaul announces he will not begin accepting concealed handgun license applications on April 8, as per his '"duty under the law."
April

2005

July
September
  • Rep. Aslanides introduces H.B. 347 (Sweeping Firearms Law Reform Bill) to clean up many of the most egregious Taft poison pills added to ensure passage of H.B.12, including the "plain sight" motor vehicle carry requirement. Local gun control laws would also be preempted.

2006

January
  • Gov Taft signs H.B. 367 protecting sportsmen dollars from entering the general fund.
February
March
November
  • H.B. 347 (Sweeping Firearms Law Reform Bill) passes Ohio Senate with a veto-proof majority and is sent to Gov. Taft.
December

2007

March
June
  • S.B. 184/H.B. 264 (Castle Doctrine) introduced. In addition to restoring the presumption that one is acting in self defense in one's own residence or vehicle via 'Castle Doctrine' language, the bill also seeks to reform many other of the problems with the original 2004 law as well as to improve Ohio law for all gun owners and all property owners. Proposed changes include allowing CHL-holders to carry in a glove box or vehicle console, allowing CHL-holders to enter a school zone (when picking up or dropping off a child), retail facilities that sell alcohol off-premises, as well as in government-owned rest areas, parking garages and bathroom facilities, improving the definition of a loaded gun, and much more

2008

January
February
March
April
May
June
September
December

2009

February
  • Buckeye Firearms Foundation sues City of Cleveland to stop enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws. The case is put on hold while the courts continue consideration of Cleveland's challenge to the state's preemption law.
March
June
July
  • Budget bill restructures fees sheriffs charge for new and renewed CHLs and corrects en-bloc/stripper clip mistake in definition of loaded firearm fixes contained in S.B. 184.
November

2010

May
June
September
October
December

2011

February
  • S.B.17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) & H.B. 54 (Restoration of Rights) bills reintroduced.
April
  • Ohio Senate passes S.B. 17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and S.B. 61 (Restoration of Rights).
May
June

2012

March
  • Rep. Terry Johnson (R) introduces H.B. 495 (Reciprocity & Concealed Carry Modernization) which would seek to remove more Taft poison pills, including eliminating the "demonstrated competency" requirement for 2nd and future CHL renewals (making CHL training similar to a hunting license), modifying the law to automatically honor other states licenses (similar to a driver's license), and fixing the definition of a "loaded gun."
June
December

2013

June
  • Rep. Terry Johnson (R) introduces H.B. 203, which will remove more Taft poison pills from the law, including removing the mandate that a CHL class must be 12 hours in length, and (again) seeking to modify the law to automatically honor other states licenses (similar to a driver's license).  The bill would also strengthen the background checks required to obtain an Ohio CHL, update the requirements and disqualifications to obtain an CHL by harmonizing Ohio law with federal law, and modify the state's self-defense law to eliminate the "duty to retreat."

July

November

2014

December

2015

February

June

July

November

2016

December

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.

Mission

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

JOIN