Representatives Hood and Brinkman introduce HB 178 (Constitutional Carry, Concealed Weapons License & Remove Duty to Notify)

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reference HB 178. A previous version of the bill (HB 174) was introduced with language that is no longer necessary, thanks to passage of HB 86.

Representatives Ron Hood (R-78) and Tom Brinkman (R-27) have introduced House Bill 178, 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.

In other states that have passed Constitutional Carry laws, the license system has been kept in place so as to allow citizens who wish to travel to other states that require a license to be able to do so. This bill does the same, but it also seeks to change Ohio's concealed handgun license to a concealed (carry) weapons - or CCW - license, which would allow licensees to conceal not only handguns, but other types of firearms and other deadly weapons which are not otherwise restricted by law.

HB 178 also seeks to remove the duty to notify law enforcement that one is carrying a concealed firearm, and provides an expungement process for persons with prior convictions for failure to notify.

Constitutional Carry bills have been proposed in Ohio in every General Assembly for the better part of two decades. Hood and Brinkman introduced a similar bill in 2015 and 2017, and Hood's predecessor in the 78th District, John Adams, introduced similar bills in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Previous to that Brinkman introduced similar bills in 2004 and 2005.

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 changed the thinking of many, and this once "radical" idea is becoming mainstream and is now working its way through many state legislatures. At least eighteen states now allow some form of unlicensed concealed carry and several 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 Fourth 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.

This bill would make desirable changes to Ohio's concealed carry laws. However, considering that the Ohio legislature has not even been willing to remove the duty to retreat from our self-defense laws, and considering that we had to move from four hours training to eight hours just to get HB 234 passed in 2014 - it's safe to say this legislation faces an uphill battle.

In Guns & Ammo's ranking of "Best States for Gun Owners," Ohio ranks 28th, and falls behind all but one of its border states. Michigan, which passed concealed carry one year before Ohio, ranks 26th. Indiana comes in 20th, West Virgina ranks 15th, and Kentucky is ranked 14th.

It must be noted that legislators in Constitutional Carry states 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.

Gun owners are encouraged to contact their Representatives and express your hope that pro-gun legislation will take center stage in the 133rd General Assembly.

If you want to see the General Assembly act to improve gun rights in ways that are already enjoyed by the majority of other states, call your Representative and Senator NOW and tell them you expect pro-gun legislation to move in Ohio THIS YEAR. They asked for your vote on Election Day. Tell them we want their votes too.

Read the entire text of HB 178 here.

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 served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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Media Coverage:

Cleveland Plain DealerOhio is closer than ever to allowing concealed weapons without a permit, supporters say

“I never expected it to pass during prior sessions,” said Jim Irvine, president of the pro-gun rights Buckeye Firearms Association. “But I think this session it is likely to.”

...

“It’s not something that’s like this ‘holy cow’ controversial thing,” Irvine said of conceal-carry without a permit. “It’s like, well this is ‘common-sense, let’s knock this out of the way quick and easy’ type stuff.”

WBNS (CBS Columbus):

 

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