What HB 234 Means to You: Part II - Reciprocity

On March 23, 2015 several changes to Ohio law that are of particular significance to Ohio gun owners will take effect. This article will look at reciprocity and related issues.

Currently, Ohio residents may carry on an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) or a license from another “substantially equivalent” state that the Ohio Attorney General has signed a reciprocal agreement with. Residents from reciprocal states may carry in Ohio using their state’s license. This will not change when HB 234 becomes effective.

On the effective date, however, Ohio will begin honoring licenses from all states, even those without a reciprocal agreement. Indiana and Pennsylvania residents will finally be able to legally carry concealed firearms in Ohio with their home state licenses. But Ohio residents WILL NOT be able to carry on non-resident licenses from states which do not have “substantially equivalent” laws and thus have not signed an agreement with our Attorney General.

We expect all current agreements to remain in place, but again, as of the effective date, Ohio residents will not be able to carry on out of state licenses from states that are not substantially similar and with which there is no signed agreement. The best course of action for Ohio residents is to get an Ohio CHL, because it will be honored by even more states going forward.

Additionally, Ohio will begin issuing CHL’s to non-residents who work in Ohio. This is critical for school employees, because the exemption for possessing firearms in school zones (including within 1,000 feet from the perimeter) only applies to licenses issued from the state in which the school is located. Reciprocity agreements are useless.

Another change is that Ohio CHL’s will remain valid when residents move out of state. This will allow people time to establish residency in other states and obtain a CHL from their new states while legally carrying on the valid Ohio license. Once becoming a non-resident, people will not be permitted to renew their Ohio CHL unless they continue to work in Ohio.

Some states, such as Georgia, automatically accept another state’s license, as long as the other state accepts their license. Ohio will automatically accept Georgia licenses beginning March 23, 2015 and so Georgia should automatically accept Ohio licenses on the same day, thought it may take some time for word to be disseminated to prosecutors and law enforcement.

Many other states require a signed agreement. Ohio will be a hybrid. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is already reviewing reciprocity and will be contacting states where applicable. The new law will bring additional privileges to Ohio residents, as more states will honor your Ohio CHL, but some will take more time than others. As always, we encourage gun owners to consult the Attorney General web site and the authority in other states to or through which you may be traveling.

Gun owners must comply with the laws of the state they are living or visiting. As always, it is the responsibility of each individual to know, understand and follow all applicable laws relating to the ownership, transportation, and use of firearms.

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."

Related Articles:

What HB 234 Means to You: Part I - NICS compliant background checks

What HB 234 Means to You: Part III - 31+ round magazines & non-contiguous transfers

What HB 234 Means to You: Part IV - CLEO "shall sign" provision for National Firearms Act (NFA) restricted items

What HB 234 Means to You: Part V - CHL mandatory training reduction

What HB 234 Means to You: Part VI - Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting

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