Representative Adams introduces HB256: Constitutional Carry

by Jim Irvine

Representative John Adams (R-78) of Sidney, Ohio has introduced House Bill 256.

HB256 is identical to Adam's HB129 from 2009 and HB225 from 2007, and substantially similar to HB91 from 2005 and HB559 from 2004 (the latter two having been sponsored by then-Representative Tom Brinkman). HB256 would repeal many of the onerous provisions of our current concealed carry law and allow law abiding citizens to carry concealed without a license.

Constitutional carry is an exciting possibility for gun owners in Ohio. It used to be said that it only worked in rural Vermont. Alaska is considered wilderness and didn't seem to matter either. Then last year Arizona passed a constitutional carry law. The success there has changed the thinking of many and this once "radical" idea is becoming mainstream and is now working its way through many state legislatures.

Vermont has allowed anyone without a criminal record to carry guns without state mandated training, background checks or licenses for almost a century. Alaska eliminated the licensing requirement in 2003. But neither of those states have large populations and most people in the other 48 states have not visited them. They were anomalies.

Arizona passed constitutional carry in 2010 and seems poised to have started a wave of interest in the idea that Second Amendment rights should be viewed similar to other Constitutional rights. Already this year Wyoming has followed their lead and adopted constitutional carry, and Colorado nearly did as well, passing a constitutional carry bill in the House 40-25, only to have Democrats defeat it in a Senate committee 3-2.

It took a few years after Florida passed a "shall issue" law for the idea to become popular across the country. Will the Buckeye State see a similar change from blue to green? (See graphic)

We don't need permission from the government to go to church or exercise our First Amendment right. Nor do we need a license to exercise our right for a speedy trial (Sixth Amendment.) It makes no sense that a person would need permission from the government to remain silent (Fifth Amendment) or be secure with our belongings that a Government can't just take or search at their whim (Fourth Amendment). The whole idea in the "Bill of Rights" is that they are, well, rights. They are rights of the people, and our Founding Fathers codified them because government tends to overstep its bounds.

If we have the "right" to "keep" (own) and bear (carry) arms, then why do we need permission?

Society generally agrees that there are actions that will cause a person to lose some of their rights. A person convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail forfeits his Forth Amendment rights while imprisoned. He and his cell may be searched without his consent. Convicts also forfeit their Second Amendment rights.

The Second Amendment is the only right people have, that is commonly regulated to the point where they need a license (permission from the government) to exercise that right. This has lead many to the incorrect assumption that carrying a gun is a privilege, like driving, that can be highly regulated and exercised only by those with specific permission from the government.

Many will take issue with the above. They may believe it is the rantings of a crazy gun nut. Such is the line of thinking from the constitutionally challenged.

When Arizona passed constitutional carry in 2010, it proved that this law can work in large urban areas. Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the United States. It boasts a population that is twice the size of Columbus, which is Ohio's largest city. It is bigger than Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Dayton combined. Arizona is a border state and Phoenix has its share of crime problems. But giving honest citizens the right to defend themselves from criminals has not exasperated those problems as the anti-freedom crowd predicted.

HB256 would also repeal many state-mandated victim zones. Most prominent may be college campuses and parking lots. Ohio campuses remain fertile ground for a Virginia Tech-style shooting because Ohio has disarmed all teachers and students, even though such areas are often plagued by crime.

One real benefit for Ohio may be eliminating the temporary emergency license (TEL). Someone needing a TEL would be able to carry instantly under this new bill, assuming they are under no firearms disability, for self-protection. This is the same rules as now, except they would not need to get to a sheriff office to obtain a license to defend their life.

The bill would eliminate the requirement for training, which is sure to be controversial, but many states, including neighboring states Indiana and Pennsylvania already issue licenses with no training. There have been few, if any, related problems.

Ohio is one of the few states requiring recurrent training. The requirements are confusing. Renewing a driver's license or CHL consumes enough time and money, and anything that can reduce that burden is a good thing.

Let's be completely frank about the training issue. The basic training required to obtain a CHL should be taught in every high school in the state as fundamental firearms safety, just like DARE and sex education. The training requirements are fine for firearms safety. They do nothing to insure that the CHL-holder is tactically capable with their handgun. Case studies have shown that people are remarkably adaptable to grabbing a firearm and successfully defending themselves without any training. It happens so often it's not even news.

The responsible gun owner will continue to get training. Gun owners are filling advanced training classes around Ohio and throughout the country. These advanced classes are not required, but are sought out by gun owners who are continually looking for ways to improve their knowledge, skills, and safety.

Businesses, like Lauhorner in Springfield or Blackwing in Delaware employ qualified trainers and offer classes. Local classes at sportsmen clubs and shooting ranges continue to be popular. Classes at Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) outside West Union continue to sell out. Reducing the training requirement will not reduce this demand, because the demand exceeds any state requirement.

Even though this bill would make many desirable changes to Ohio's concealed carry laws, it faces an uphill battle to become law. Many in the Ohio legislature are still influenced by the legacy of Bob Taft and George Voinovich, who bastardized the meaning of "pro-gun" beyond recognition. It will take a real leader to open the minds of legislators so that they understand the types of laws that the freedom to keep and bear arms should dictate.

It must be noted that Arizona legislators did not suddenly change their position on firearms restrictions. Arizona voters sick of the status quo were involved in contacting their legislators. They explained the issues facing them and educated their officials about the need for change. They were polite and persistent and now they are reaping their just rewards. It will be interesting to see which state's gun owners rally their legislators to become the next state to adopt constitutional carry.

Simple steps you can take to help the cause:

  • Become a Buckeye Firearms Defender. (Make regular, automatic donations of any amount, on any schedule.)
  • Volunteer to get help us with campaigns and projects.
  • Reach out to other gun owners on a personal level and get them involved.

Does your club, range, and gun store hand out information about Buckeye Firearms?
Do instructors you know hand out Buckeye wallet cards?
Are members of clubs you belong to informed on firearms issues?

If not, talk to them about getting more involved. They saw an increase in business when concealed carry passed. Their success is directly related to the success of Buckeye Firearms Association. Help build a relationship that allows us to work together.

Reach out to non shooters. Take them shooting with you and make it fun for them.

If we could each recruit one new person, we would double in size. Repeat as necessary until the desired results have been obtained.

For other ideas, visit our Grassroots Action Guide and read 15 Ways to Fight for Our Second Amendment Rights.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Read the entire text of HB256 here.

Media Coverage:
Columbus Dispatch - Lawmakers send Kasich bill to allow guns in bars - Next idea: No permit necessary

Columbus Dispatch - Editorial: Half-cocked - Bill allowing most anyone to carry handguns almost anywhere is frightening

Dayton Daily News - Bill would allow guns on campus, in church - Lawmaker's proposal would expand on new law

Ohio News Network - Supports Of Conceal Carry Weapon Bill Want It Expanded

Tim Inwood is a supporter of House Bill 256 and is the former President of the Clinton County Gun Club [and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association].

Inwood said that if gun owners were allowed to carry their weapons on campus, the massacre at Virginia Tech may not have been so deadly.

"Sadly individuals that had conceal carry licenses on campus had to leave their guns in the cars because it was required by state law. Therefore, they could not have stopped the slaughter," Inwood said.

...The bill not only will allow guns on college campuses but also at churches, daycare centers and government buildings.

"If I am allowed to carry a conceal weapon in churches, it's going to be a deterrent for criminals causing problems," Inwood said. "People with a license won't be a problem."

...Joe Eaton with the Buckeye Firearms Association told ONN that he agrees with the concept of the bill, but doesn't think it has a good chance of being approved.

WCMH (NBC Columbus) - New Bill Would Allow Concealed Carry At Daycare Centers, College Campuses - Bill Would Also Eliminate Concealed Carry Permit Process

"If someone is going to meet all the qualifications, a whole bureaucracy to oversee telling you you're a good person doesn't make a whole lot of sense," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

WKBN (CBS Youngstown) - Proponents Look to Expand Concealed Carry Law

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