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

Editor's Note: The following was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on March 1, 2015.

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 improvements to training requirements to obtain an Ohio concealed handgun license (CHL).

While Am. Sub. H.B. 234 contains many provisions, the single provision bound to draw the most attention is the reduction in training hours required to obtain a CHL.

Currently, an applicant for an Ohio CHL must take a minimum of 12 hours of training, including two hours of range time, from an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association or the Ohio peace officer training commission. Beginning March 23, 2015, the training requirement becomes a minimum of eight hours, including a minimum of two hours of range time, and may be taught by an instructor certified by any national gun advocacy organization.

Additionally, persons who have undergone the standard peace officer training program, or were discharged from the military in the past 10 years, are exempt from further training.

It is important to understand that the training for a concealed handgun license is not intended to develop instant tactical operators. These citizens are simply exercising a federal and state constitutional right - the right to self-defense. Any discussion of training requirements needs to be framed within this context and not a comparison of training hours with some unrelated field.

For instance, police officers are granted extraordinary powers, and immunity for exercising those powers. Citizens are exercising fundamental, constitutional rights. Comparing the training hours between the two is an exercise in futility.

It is more instructive to look to our neighbors and see what these states are requiring for training prior to obtaining a concealed carry license. Indiana requires no training and will issue a lifetime license. Pennsylvania requires no training. Michigan requires gun safety training without much micro-management from the state, with most classes currently offered being eight hours. Kentucky requires eight hours of training and a course of fire of 20(!) rounds of ammunition. West Virginia requires gun safety training without much micro-management from the state, with three hour classes currently qualifying for a license.

Ohio’s immediate neighbors have required far, far less training than Ohio for years, and have not seen reason to increase this requirement. Even after March 23, 2015, Ohio’s training requirements will be at the top of the chart when compared to all of our contiguous states.

Most readers have driven through these adjoining states multiple times in the past 10 years. Did any of these readers get a sense of panic upon crossing the state line simply because Ohio had the arbitrary number of 12 hours training and the state they were entering had a lower number, or no number at all?

Every time gun laws are improved for the average citizen, there is a great gnashing of teeth accompanied by predictions of woe and misery. These predictions never hold true, and won’t hold true with this reduced training requirement.

Ken Hanson is a Delaware attorney active in gun rights litigation, lobbying and training. He is the author of “The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.”, and serves as Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair.

Related Articles:

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

What HB 234 Means to You: Part II - Reciprocity

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 VI - Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting

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