Sheriffs attend training on new CHL law in Columbus

Ohio working out 'bugs' in concealed law
February 22, 2004
Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN)

EATON, Ohio -- Camden resident Jan Gitz expects to be among the estimated 71,000 Ohio residents who will carry a concealed weapon under House Bill 12 this year.

Gitz is self-employed and her work takes her out on the road late at night and sometimes to neighborhoods where she feels unsafe. She supported passage of the proposal, which drew adamant supporters and opponents as it wound its way through the Ohio legislature last year.

Bugs in the system must be worked out and application forms must be devised. Still, come April 8, Gitz and other Ohio residents can apply for a license to carry a concealed handgun.

Gov. Bob Taft signed the law, House Bill 12, on Jan. 8.

The Ohio Legislative Service Commission estimates 71,000 applications per year will be filed. That's about 3 percent of the state's population.

Already the Preble County Sheriff's Department has had many requests for applications, but they're not available.

Sheriff Mike Simpson said the Ohio Attorney General's Office is working on the form, and the state is developing a pamphlet on the law that each applicant must receive.

Simpson returned on Friday from training on the new law in Columbus.

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"The state has a lot of bugs to work out for the sheriff's procedure," Simpson said. "In two to three weeks I expect information back to us on how the state is going to fix these small problems."

The sheriff's department must approve or deny the license within 45 days after receiving an application.

One of the bugs includes how some departments will conduct the required background checks.

Simpson said his department uses the Internet for most background checks. He said the law requires all records to be destroyed within 20 days of issuing or denying a permit. But because the check includes an applicant's fingerprint and cannot be purged, police departments might have to do the checks another way.

Fingerprints could be taken manually and then sent to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Simpson said that could slow the process.

Although Gitz carries a cellular phone and knows she can call for police, she contends carrying a handgun could offer her and others more protection.

"Two to three minutes can make a difference in whether you survive or not," Gitz said.

Gitz is not a stranger to weapons. She said she grew up handling guns and is a hunter.

Training required

Anyone seeking a concealed-weapons permit will have to complete a firearms training course.

In Preble County, residents will have to look somewhere other than the sheriff's department. Simpson said his office won't offer a course.

But the Fort St. Clair Gun Club in Eaton is working on developing a program to train people for the concealed weapons license.

H.K. Steiner, club president and firearms instructor, said the club planned on having its facility open for instruction at a later time and when all the requirements could be met.

"We have had many members, citizens and citizens outside of Preble County, inquire about a course," Steiner said. He said most of the inquiries have been from men.

Steiner didn't say if he was interested in carrying a concealed weapon.

"I like the idea of having the opportunity but whether I do it or not will be my alternative," Steiner said.

How it works

The process for obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio includes:

  • The applicant must complete an application form developed by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. The applications are handled through local sheriff's departments.
  • Applicant must pay a non-refundable fee for the license of up to $45. Simpson said $15 of that would go to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identity and another $5 would go to the OPOTC. The remainder will be put into a fund for buying materials, training or paying personnel.
  • An applicant must have a color photograph taken within 30 days before the application.
  • The sheriff's department will conduct a criminal records check of each applicant.
  • The sheriff's department must provide a pamphlet outlining Ohio firearms laws.
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