A battery of changes in concealed carry laws have just passed the Ohio House 59-28 in the form of House Bill 495, and they look to have a positive impact for gun owners across the state.
The bill, introduced on March 27 by State Representative Terry Johnson (R-89), is more of a streamlining of rough patches in the law rather than a complete overhaul, but its impact will likely still be of benefit to CHL holders. The bill would seek to accomplish four primary goals, the first being the establishment of automatic CHL reciprocity between Ohio and other states with automatic reciprocity. As the law currently stands, the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine can only seek reciprocity through written agreements with other states that have very similar concealed carry laws, and this would open up Ohio to CHL holders from states that currently accept Ohio permits but not vice versa.
The second goal is to do away with the current requirement of obtaining a renewed firearms competency certificate for a second or subsequent renewal of a concealed carry license. Up until now, a firearms competency certificate is necessary to first apply for the license and can be used again for the first renewal of the license, but every renewal afterward requires a CHL holder to renew this certificate. HB 495 would allow CHL holders renewing their license to present their original competency certificate or their concealed carry license itself as proof of necessary training.
HB 495 would also modify the definition of a “loaded” firearm inside of a vehicle. Ohio law states that if both a firearm and its counterpart loaded magazine are present inside of a car, truck, etc., even if the magazine is not inserted into the firearm, that the firearm is considered “loaded” – almost a strange homage to the “intent to construct” laws used by the BATFE. According to Rep. Johnson on Cleveland.com, “This defies common sense and causes confusion with out-of-state concealed carry permit holders. No other state has a law this restrictive.” The bill would change this definition so that the loaded magazine must be inserted into the firearm in order for it to be considered loaded.
Finally, the bill would make the minor change of defining “Concealed Handgun License” within the wording of revised portions of the code for the sake of consistency and ease of reading. As the NRA-ILA put it, “HB 495 would simplify the state code and make it easier to read, understand, comply with and enforce.”
The bill hade strong support from both the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association, and it must now pass the Ohio Senate before having a chance at becoming law. Summer break, however, is looming for the Ohio legislature, so the bill is likely to remain dormant until close to the end of the year.
Image by Alexander Smith from the Wikimedia Commons