Representative Hood introduces Constitutional Carry

Representative Ron Hood (R-78) of Ashville, Ohio has introduced House Bill 147, a bill which seeks to have Ohio join the growing number of states which allow "constitutional" carry, or lawful carry of a concealed firearm without a license.

Similar bills have been proposed in Ohio in every General Assembly for more than a decade. Hood's predecessor in the 78th District, John Adams, introduced similar bills in 2007, 2009 and 2011, and previous to that Rep. Tom Brinkman introduced similar bills in 2004 and 2005.

[UPDATE: As a demonstration of how these bills have been recycled over the years, Hood's HB 147 contained language that is not currently a part of the Ohio Revised Code. Hood apparently did not discover this before he introduced HB 147, so a few days later he introduced HB 152 - a bill which proposes the same changes but which does not contain the out-dated language.]

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, in 2010, 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. Five states now allow unlicensed concealed carry — the most recent was signed into law last week in Kansas — and nearly a dozen other states are considering legislation.

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.

Even though this bill would make desirable changes to Ohio's concealed carry laws, it faces an uphill battle. Considering that the Ohio legislature has not even been willing to make it easier for licensed persons to pick up children at school and store a firearm in their personal vehicle at work, or to allow victims of crime who defend themselves the same 'innocent until proven' guilty benefit we have everywhere else in the Ohio Revised Code - and considering that we had to move from four hours training to eight hours just to get our last bill through the Senate - it's safe to say we're a ways away from this becoming law in Ohio.

It must be noted that legislators in states like Arizona, Wyoming, and Kansas did not suddenly change their position on firearms restrictions. Rather, 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:

Does your club, range, and gun store hand out information about Buckeye Firearms Association?

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 the 5-Minute Handbook for Grassroots Activists.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

Read the entire text of HB 147 here.

Media Coverage:

Columbus Dispatch - Bill would allow Ohioans to carry concealed firearms with no permit, training

“This is a concept that is getting interest on a national basis,” said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “It’s kind of like concealed carry was 25 years ago.”


Irvine said the measure may not pass in the current two-year legislative session, but he thinks it eventually will.

“Ohio has been 10 to 20 years behind the country on firearms stuff,” he said. “The world didn’t end in any other state where this passed, and it won’t in Ohio either.”

Gannett Company newspapers -Bill would allow concealed carry without permit

Ken Hanson, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said Ohio isn't ready for concealed carry without permits — a law that a few states have. Buckeye Firearms Association wasn't consulted before the bill was introduced, he added.

"It would be great," Hanson said of concealed carry without permits. "But the problem is we have already circulated our legislative priorities, and this bill has no chance of passage this session."

Ohio Public Radio - State Lawmakers Considering Changes To Concealed Carry Law

Jim Irvine, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, says the state should do what some others have done: scrap the permit requirement for handguns.

“Is there a case for having a big registration scheme and having people pay fees to the state to exercise a constitutional right? And I think a lot of people are finding, no, you can’t make a good case for that. And if you can’t, then why are we doing it,” Irvine said.

WCPO (ABC Cincinnati) - Ohio lawmakers considering bill that would allow concealed carry without permit

Gun advocates are cautiously optimistic about the bill's intentions. "What other constitutional right do we have to go get a license from the state to exercise?" said Jim Irvine of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - House bill would eliminate the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Ohio

Gun advocates are cautiously optimistic about House Bill 147, introduced in the Ohio house by Ashville Representative Ron Hood.

“What other constitutional right do we have to go get a license from the state to exercise?” said Jim Irvine of Buckeye Firearms Association.

WOIO (CBS Cleveland) - Proposed gun bill would eliminate permits, training, background checks

"We support the legislation, but Ohio is 10 to 20 years behind the nation in gun laws and this bill won't pass. But you can expect up to four other states to pass similar bills this year," said Jim Irvine with Buckeye Firearms, a pro gun owner group.

WXIX (Fox Dayton) - Ohio proposal would allow concealed carry without permit

"I think it would be great to see this become law in Ohio. But, unfortunately in the past, the Ohio legislature has not even been willing to allow a licensed person simple rights,” said Joe Eaton with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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