Senate committee schedules fifth hearing for SB 338 (Concealed Carry Reform), other pro-gun bills
Chairman Bill Coley has announced that the Senate Civil Justice Committee will be hearing testimony on SB 338, Sen. Joe Uecker's (R-Miami Township) Concealed Carry Law Reform Bill, next Wednesday, November 19 at 9:45 a.m. in the Finance Hearing Room. This will be the fifth hearing for this bill.
Coley has also scheduled a fifth hearing for Rep. Cheryl Grossman's (R-Grove City) HB 234 (Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting), and has indicated amendments may be considered before a possible vote.
SB 338 seeks to make many improvements to Ohio's concealed carry laws.
The bill proposes to allow non-residents to apply for and receive an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) if they work in Ohio. This has become an issue for school employees who live in a bordering state and work in Ohio. To comply with federal law regarding carrying firearms in school zones, including the 1,000 foot perimeter around school property, one must possess a license from the state the school is located in. This bill would make it possible for these people to comply with federal law. They would be required to pass the same training and background check as Ohio residents and must apply in the county they work, or any adjacent county.
The bill would eliminate the 45 day residency waiting period before a person may apply for an Ohio CHL and clarify that an Ohio CHL would remain valid until expiration if a person moves out of state. These provisions allow persons to move into or out of Ohio and not have a lapse in their licensing to carry firearms.
Under the bill, completing OPOTA (law enforcement) training will satisfy the requirements of the training to obtain a CHL, as will military training, which will no longer expire. For everyone else, required training to obtain a concealed handgun license would change to eight (8) hours, which would still be above the national average.
The bill also contains changes requested by law enforcement. The first change allows sheriffs to use money from the concealed carry expense fund to pay for other firearms training, as long as they are not unduly delaying people from applying for or renewing their CHL. Additionally, investigators appointed by the state attorney general to investigate Medicaid fraud would be authorized to go armed, in the same manner as sheriffs.
The bill would delete the entire CHL application from revised code and charge the attorney general with maintaining the application. This eliminates the need to pass legislation to update the application and will streamline the process. The A.G. must ensure the application is compatible with Ohio law and may not add any restrictions that are not in the law.
Lastly, the bill contains a technical fix so that all restorations will have the same function of law.
The bill, which can be viewed in its entirety here.
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 BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. They asked for your vote on Tuesday, November 4. Tell them we want their votes too.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.
Media coverage of last week's hearings on these bills, as well as HB 203 (Concealed Carry & Self-Defense Law Reform):
Toledo Blade - Gun law overhaul could go to Kasich
Dix Communications newspapers- Ohio Senate has hearings on changes to gun laws