Open carry constitutional

(The Center Square) – Ohio House Democrats want Gov. Mike DeWine to veto legislation that would allow gun owners to carry without permits, but DeWine has given no indication what he will do with the bill.

Speaking at an event late last week, DeWine told NBC4-TV he has not made a decision.

“I’m not going to say much today, but the job of the governor is to make tough decisions and I have a decision to make,” DeWine said.

The governor has until later this week to either sign it or veto it. If he does nothing, it will be vetoed. If he signs it, Ohio would become the 22nd state to allow people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Ohio’s bill also would remove the requirement a resident must notify law enforcement if they are carrying a concealed weapon unless asked.

“The open carry of firearms is already legal in Ohio, however, once an individual were to put on a sweatshirt or jacket without a concealed carry permit, they would be in violation of the law,” Sen. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, said. “Responsible gun owners should not be punished for lawfully practicing their constitutional rights.”

The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Ohio Mayors Alliance, the Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Cincinnati City Council and several civil rights groups all actively oppose Senate Bill 215, and House Democrats sent a letter to DeWine urging a veto.

“By removing these responsible and reasonable precautions, this dangerous legislation compromises the safety and security of our communities and law enforcement while catering to extreme voices under the cover of constitutionality,” Democrats said in the letter. “As a former state attorney general and prosecutor, you understand, better than most, the potential impact enactment of this bill will have on the safety of our citizens and law enforcement personnel. We should not disrespect the survivors and casualties of Dayton and countless other communities by making SB 215 law.”

Democrats proposed several gun control amendments to SB 215, and Republicans rejected each of them.

DeWine proposed his own gun control plan after a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that saw nine people killed and 17 more wounded when Connor Betts began shooting near the entrance of the Ned Peppers Bar in the city’s Oregon District.

DeWine's proposal called for prohibiting gun possession for those under a safety order and background checks on all firearm sales, with limited exception, such as gifts between family members. His proposal also included increased penalties for felons who possess guns, committing a felony while in possession of gun, brandishing a gun, for illegally obtained guns and more funding to secure schools and soft targets.

None of DeWine’s potential legislation has received any movement in the Ohio House or Senate.

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.