FILE - OH Scott Wiggam

Ohio state Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wayne County

(The Center Square) – A bill before the Ohio House would eliminate the requirement for those carrying a gun to tell law enforcement officers they have it. Instead, they only would need to mention it if asked.

Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wayne County, said the state’s current law is unclear and its penalties are too harsh. His bill, House Bill 89, changes that.

“This legislation seeks to protect the rights of our [concealed handgun license] holders within Wayne County and throughout Ohio,” Wiggam said. “I have introduced the Duty to Notify bill in the House in the past, and I’m hoping to get it over the finish line during the 134th General Assembly.”

Wiggam said Ohio’s notification laws carry some of the harshest penalties in the nation. Ohio’s more than 673,000 CHL holders must “promptly” notify law enforcement they are carrying a handgun.

He said the language causes confusion based on various interpretations. If passed and signed into law, Wiggam’s bill says officers must be told of a handgun only if they ask.

“How can law-abiding citizens attempt to follow the law when it’s clearly not well-defined? The bill I’ve introduced puts the control of conduct back in the hands of officers as it is their duty and job to correctly enforce our laws,” Wiggam said.

The bill also takes away reasons, according to Wiggam, to unnecessarily charge residents. Currently, if someone does not “promptly” notify the officer, an additional charge can be added. Ohio is one of nine states with a duty to notify law.

Last year, the same bill passed the Ohio House but did not receive a vote in the Senate. House Bill 89 has 12 cosponsors and is in the House State and Government Committee, which Wiggam chairs. The bill had its first hearing Wednesday.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.