Woman calls police to get wanted man out of her house; Officers charge her with "failure to notify;" confiscate her gun
In the fight to change the law regarding the duty to promptly notify a law enforcement officer that one is legally exercising their right to bear arms in the State of Ohio, Buckeye Firearms Association is often asked what harm is the current law actually causing.
We have, of course, pointed out that no one can define what "promptly" means, and that there are no standards for when and how to notify. We've pointed out that this creates unnecessary confusion and tension between citizens and officers. We've explained that, when pulled over, most people are already a little nervous and distracted. They are thinking about why they are being stopped, not about their firearm.
And we have given examples of times when people have been arrested for not remembering to notify "promptly" enough for whatever officer they happen to be interacting with.
Another such example comes to us this week from the city of Warren, where a woman who called police for help in removing a wanted man from her home was charged for having forgotten to notify the officer that she had a concealed handgun license (CHL) and had her firearm in her purse.
From WMFJ (NBC Youngstown):
A Warren woman who called the police to remove a man from her home was cited for failing to tell officers she had a gun in her purse.
Police say they seized the conceal carry permit and handgun from Ashley Heiskell after she had called officers to remove a man who was at her Commerce Street townhouse early Tuesday.
Officers arrested the man after confirming Heiskell’s claim that he is wanted on a warrant out of Cuyahoga County.
One of the officers also asked dispatchers about the 33-year-old woman and discovered Heiskell had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
When the officer asked her about the permit, she showed him a 9mm handgun she carried in her purse.
Asked why she didn’t tell officers that she had the gun as required under Ohio law and taught in CCW classes, Heiskell said she didn’t know she had to do that and didn’t remember much about the classes, according to the police report.
Police issued a summons for Heiskell to appear in Warren Municipal Court to answer a charge of failure to notify. The officer also took Heiskell’s gun and the permit.
This woman was literally charged because she had armed herself when a wanted man was in her home and neglected to mention that fact to the responding officers.
THIS is yet another example of why this law must be changed.
House Bill 89 seeks to amend Ohio’s “duty to inform” law by clarifying Ohio law so that law-abiding gun owners understand how and when to notify a law enforcement officer that they are carrying a firearm.
In short, you would simply need to show your CHL if asked and state that you are carrying a handgun. The bill would also eliminate the penalty for violating the duty to notify.
HB 89 does NOT pose any danger to officers. And it does NOT absolve gun owners of any responsibility when dealing with law enforcement. It simply makes the law clear to both officers and citizens to help improve interactions.
Buckeye Firearms Association testified in favor of HB 89 in March, and will continue to advocate for its passage.
Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. 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.