Starting on June 13, 2022 it will be legal in Ohio to carry a concealed handgun without a license. Senate Bill 215 was recently signed into law, making “permitless” carry or “constitutional” carry legal for all Ohioans 21 and over who are legally allowed to possess a handgun. Buckeye State residents should understand what’s covered in Ohio’s new permitless carry law and how it affects their Second Amendment rights.
Governor DeWine Cites Crime as Reason for Signing Bill
The United States has seen a surge in violent crime over the last couple of years. Ohio is no exception. Between 2019 and 2020, Ohio saw a 40% rise in its homicide rate and a 4% overall rise in violent crime offenses, according to Axios. Columbus set an all-time high in homicides last year, and the suburbs around Columbus are also seeing soaring violent crime, reports ABC 6.
Ohio is the 23rd state to allow constitutional carry, also known as permitless carry.
Governor DeWine alluded to the spike in violence when explaining his decision to sign Senate Bill 215. In January 2021, DeWine signed a “stand your ground” law that expanded the legal justifications for using deadly force in self-defense.
How the Law Changes Ohio Concealed Carry
Ohio is now the 23rd state to allow constitutional carry. The new Ohio permitless carry law makes a number of changes to the firearm rights of Ohioans, including the following:
- CHLs will be optional: Ohioans currently must obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL), which requires undergoing firearm safety training, taking an exam, and applying for a license with the local sheriff’s office. Ohio will still offer CHL licensing to anyone who wants it, but it won’t be mandatory, and those who obtain a CHL won’t be legally required to carry their license.
- Law applies to “qualifying” adults: The rules for concealed carry in Ohio without a license are the same as concealed carry with a license. That is, you must be at least 21, not be charged with or convicted of a felony (or prohibited from possessing a firearm for any other reason under state or federal law), and meet other qualifications set forth by the Ohio Attorney General. However, if you have a sealed criminal record, the information in that record cannot disqualify you.
- No requirement to “promptly” inform: Once the new law goes into force, any Ohioan who is stopped by law enforcement and carrying a concealed handgun will not have to “promptly” inform the officer about the gun, as is presently the case. They will only need to inform an officer who asks whether they’re carrying a handgun, and only the first officer who asks (not every subsequent officer you encounter, which is currently required).
- Law applies in Ohio only: Ohio’s concealed carry law applies only in Ohio. Residents must obey the firearm laws of other states when crossing state lines, which could mean a CHL is necessary.
- No residency requirement: The law does not have a residency requirement, so anyone who is in Ohio (resident or not) can conceal carry without a license.
- Law applies only to handguns: Ohio’s new permitless carry law applies to handguns only. It does not apply to long guns (i.e. rifles and shotguns).
- No changes to legal conceal carry locations: Federal law still requires a CHL to keep a concealed gun in your car in a school zone. Otherwise, the law does not make changes to carry zones and no-carry zones. Property owners retain the right to ban firearms on their premises.
Know Your Rights. Protect Your Freedom.
The rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms have been significantly strengthened with the recent “stand your ground” law and now, the Ohio permitless carry law. However, gun rights and self-defense rights are not absolute, and there are still situations where you can be charged with a firearm-related crime.
If you’ve been charged with a gun crime—or any other crime—strong legal defense is a must. Our criminal defense lawyers can also help with criminal record sealing. Contact us for a free legal consultation and store this number in your phone under “Graham & Graham” so you can reach an attorney anytime and anyplace the need arises: 1-800-621-8585.