On December 19, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199 which, among other provisions, provides for the expansion of the concealed carry of handguns. These changes will take effect March 20, 2017. This legal summary will focus on three major changes to the law:
- who may carry a concealed handgun,
- the expansion of areas where a concealed handgun may be carried, and
- a private business’ ability to restrict an individual from carrying a concealed handgun.
Change One: Who may carry a concealed handgun?
Revised Code §923.12 states that “…no person shall knowingly carry or have concealed on their person a handgun.” This does not apply if an individual is carrying a valid concealed handgun license (“CHL”). Senate Bill 199 provides another exception for active duty military members. It states that the prohibition on carrying a concealed handgun does not apply to any person who (a) is an active duty member of the armed forces, (b) is carrying a valid military identification card, and (c) has completed firearms training that meets or exceeds the training requirements to obtain a valid concealed carry license. The law essentially waives the concealed carry training requirements for active duty members of the United States armed forces, and grants them the same right to carry a concealed handgun as an individual with a CHL, and under the same restrictions.
The U.S. Code defines “active duty” as “full-time duty in the active military service of the United States.” This includes full-time training duty, annual training duty, and attendance, while in the active military service, at a school designated as a service school. Such term, however, does not include full-time National Guard duty. In order to fall under this exception, an active duty member of the armed forces must carry proof of their military firearm training, as well as a valid military identification.
Change Two: Where may a concealed handgun be carried?
Senate Bill 199 modifies the current restriction on carrying a handgun in school safety zones, and lifts the current ban on carrying a concealed handgun in airport terminals, college campuses, daycare centers, and certain government buildings.
School Safety Zones: Under the old law, Ohio law prevented an individual from possessing a handgun in a school safety zone unless the person had a CHL and remained in their vehicle while picking up or dropping off a child. Under the new law, an individual with a valid CHL, or an active duty member of the military, may exit their vehicle, so long as (a) the handgun remains in the vehicle and, (b) the vehicle is locked.
Airport Terminals: Additional language was added to the current law to restrict the carrying of a concealed handgun in airport terminals only to areas that are beyond a security screening checkpoint or restricted through security measures. However, license holders must still abide by any posted requirements.
College Campuses: The new law does not automatically lift the ban on carrying a concealed handgun on college campuses. However, it gives the board of trustees of public colleges and universities the authority to authorize individuals or groups to carry a concealed handgun. Thus, an individual with a CHL, or an active duty member of the military, will not be able to carry on campus unless the governing body of the school has authorized it.
Daycare Centers: The restriction on carrying a handgun into a daycare center has been removed from the new version of the law. However, a daycare center, just like any other private business, will be able to post a “no guns” sign at their location if they want to restrict individuals from bringing guns into the building.
Government Buildings: A new provision in the law allows the governing body of a government building to enact a policy that permits a licensee to carry a concealed handgun into the building. It will still be illegal, however, to carry a gun into a courthouse, police station and the statehouse.
Private business and the ability to restrict concealed carry.
Private businesses, including daycare centers, can adopt and post a policy that concealed weapons are not allowed in the building. In order to do so, a business would simply need to post a sign stating such. Under the old law, a business could restrict an individual from bringing a handgun onto their premises, including the parking lot. However, the new law contains a provision which restricts private businesses or employers from adopting a policy that would prohibit a person with a valid license from transporting or storing a firearm in their vehicle.
In effect, private businesses can no longer make parking lots off-limits to individuals with a valid license. In order for an individual to comply with the law, the vehicle must be in a location it is permitted to be, the firearm must remain inside the vehicle while the individual is in the vehicle, or locked in a trunk, glove box, or other closed compartment when the individual exits the vehicle. If your business has a concealed carry policy in effect, either in an employee handbook or otherwise, it may need revised.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.