Back on December 15, 2021, the Ohio Senate pass legislation (SB 215) to the Ohio House of Representatives concerning their version of Ohio Constitutional Carry or "Permitless Carry". Many Ohioans, especially the far right, Constitutionalists and the Buckeye Firearms Association are pressing this issue crying it is our "Constitutional Right" to carry firearms and to carry those firearms CONCEALED without any permit. So lets go over this and find out if this is actually a good idea for all Ohioans to carry firearms.
In his article of Ohio Capital Journal written by Jake Zuckerman on December 16, 2021, he writes on this very legislation. Mr. Zuckerman briefly described the elements of this bill of who can carry which included anyone over the age of 21, so long as they're allowed to possess it [a firearm] under state and federal law." (emphasis mine). All but one Senate Republicans voted for legislation. Governor Mike DeWine's spokesmen said that Gov. DeWine has "long supported the Second Amendment right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms."
The one Senate Republican, Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland who opposed this bill, reasoned his opposition solely on the fact that the ones who will have to deal with this proposed law, Law Enforcement officers across Ohio and the Fraternal Order of Police oppose this legislation. Mr. Zuckerman went on to say in his article, "Anti-gun violence advocates and law enforcement officials align with Democrats on the issue". Implying if you're not in favor of this bill, you are an anti-American, anti-gun Democrat.
Now, before I go on, I want to say that I am 110% for, will stand for and will even fight for the Second Amendment of the Constitution which give us the Right to have firearms. Police across America protect our freedoms every time they put the badge on. But with every Right comes great responsibility.
So let's take a quick look at this proposed bill as I know it at the time of this writing. If Senate Bill 215 would pass, the State of Ohio would:
1) No longer require ANY training in the use of firearms or legalities in order to carry a concealed weapon.
2) CCW permits will be optional if someone wishes to obtain a permit.
3) Anyone, 21 years old or older can carry a firearm as long as they are legally able to possess a firearm.
4) In public areas.
5) In private business as long as weapons are permitted by the business, but does not address schools and churches.
Now, let's go through each one of those items and discuss the hidden hazards.
1) NO TRAINING
If you can't figure this one out on your own, you should NOT be owning a firearm in the first place. Just like anything else, training is everything. As I teach in my classes and lectures, when "it hits the fan", you don't have time to think what you should do, you just revert back to your training. And if you don't have any training to revert back to, you panic and end up doing something illegal or even worse, people die.
Training is the utmost important aspect of any life and death situation whether in schools, churches, or in public and if you don't constantly train and hone your skills, you will loose those skills and ultimately loose any confrontation. Firearms are machines that can malfunction when you need them the most. If you don't constantly train for the "hit the fan" moments, you're going to freeze and end up in a worse situation.
Plus, in my CCW courses, I cover legal aspects of Ohio self defense. Although I am NOT an attorney and this is NOT legal advise, as a 31 year Veteran Law Enforcement official, I know a thing or two about the laws and when and what can be done when protecting yourself or your loved ones. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT!!!
2) CCW PERMITS OPTIONAL
Well guess what, optional means that people are NOT going to do it. With SB 215, the 8 hour CCW course and CCW permits will no longer be necessary unless the holder wants to obtain or continue with their CCW permit. Do you think if it's optional, anyone will? OF COURSE NOT! That means nobody will know when they can and when they CANNOT legally protect themselves using a firearm. This in essence will eventually turn Ohio into the lawless wild west of the 1800's. Better have US Law Shield. You're going to need it.
3) ANYONE, 21 YEARS OR OLDER CAN CARRY WITHOUT A PERMIT AS LONG AS THEY ARE LEAGALLY ABLE TO POSSESS A FIREARM.
So who is going to make sure someone is legally able to carry? The police? Not any more. Under current CCW permit laws, EVERYONE who applies for a CCW permit MUST GO THROUGH A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK. A criminal background check makes sure the CCW applicant doesn't have a violent criminal history, drug or alcohol related records, have been convicted of a Felony, or has any mental condition that would prohibit them from possessing a firearm. With SB 215, literally ANYONE can legally carry and conceal a firearm, INCLUDING CRIMINALS!!!!
Do you think criminals are going to obey this law? OF COURSE NOT!!! Well, you say criminals already carry firearms, they don't care about the laws. Ture, but under SB 215, police can't arrest criminals with firearms UNLESS they use that firearm in a crime. Usually that crime involves killing someone and then it's too late. If someone is arrested for drug trafficking and has a firearm on them, with SB 215, prosecutors can NO LONGER enhance the charge with a gun specification which is an additional 3 years of prison. Plus, Police can't just stop people and ask if they are legally carrying a firearm. So how does anybody know if someone is legally able to be in possession of a firearm? Are we going to rely on carriers honesty?
4) PUBLIC AREAS
Ohio already has "Open Carry" which means that someone can legally carry a firearm openly secured in a holster that is NOT concealed. BUT ONLY IN PUBLIC PROPERTY AND AREAS! So this basically means that side walks, parks, bike trails, etc. This will be the SAME for Constitutional Carry.
5) PRIVATE BUSINESSES
The Constitution DOES NOT AND CANNOT PERMIT CARRY ON PRIVATE PROPTETY. The Constitution and any state laws CANNOT impose the permission and ability to carry firearms on someone else's PRIVATE PROPERTY. If I don't want firearms on my house, you cannot bring firearms in, period. Your "Rights" CANNOT infringe on someone else's Rights. This also means PRIVATE BUSINESSES. Constitutional Carry DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE AUTHORITY TO CARRY IN PRIVATE BUSINESSES. Guess what, places like Walmart, Lowes, McDonalds are all private businesses and private property. Even though they are open to the public, they are still private businesses and have the ability and the legal right to deny your ability to possess a firearm in or on their property. You will not have any legal grounds to say I am carrying under the Constitutional Carry. That's not going to fly in any court of law.
6) MOTOR VHEICLES (added)
Here is something that is NOT covered in any of the wording of SB 215. What about transporting a firearm in a motor vehicle. SB 215 has no wording on motor vehicles; therefore, I am lead to believe that Constitutional Carry WILL NOT be able to have a loaded, readily accessible firearm in a motor vehicle. This also applies to Open Carry. Without a valid CCW permit, YOU CANNOT POSSESS A LOADED FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO THE OPERATIOR OR ANY PASSENGER WITHOUT LEAVING THE VEHICLE (ORC 2923.16 (B)). Violation of this law is a 4th degree FELONY!!!
I always see guys in stores like Walmart, proudly strutting around with a gun strapped to their sides thinking they are cool and thinking they are a bad*** but then they get into their cars with the guns still strapped on their sides. Guess what, they just committed a Felony. Get convicted of that and you are now a Felon for the rest of your life. Now your guns will be legally taken away from you and you will NEVER be able to own or possess another firearm EVER! How responsible is that. Perfect example of what would happen if SB 215 goes into effect.
Now remember, this also does NOT allow someone to use Ohio's Constitutional Carry in another state even if that state allow Ohio CCW permits.
Police and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are against SB 215 for many reason. As a retired 31 year Veteran Law Enforcement officer, and a Certified NRA Firearms Instructor who has taught hundreds of CCW permit holders, I also am against this bill. Now before you start calling me a "Tyrant", like the Buckeye Firearms Association has labeled police, let me explain myself.
First, not constantly training with your firearm is irresponsible. If you want to carry, you have to stay proficient with it. It's been proven again and again, if you're not made to do something, you won't! Legislation will put the option of training onto the gun owner by saying if you screwed up, it's on you, not us. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse in the court of law. Anti-gun Legislators will go on to say, we were nice enough to allow you to do something and you blew it, now we need to will take it away. Of course anything optional, people are not going to do. I see this all the time at the range or when training church safety team. Everyone thinks they are a better shot than the actually are. Not training with your firearms is simply irresponsible! (Strike #1).
Second, no back ground check. It will be up to the people themselves to decide if they are legally able to carry a gun or not. Do you really think that's going to happen. (Strike #2).
Next, common sense would make you question why politicians, who many of them are anti-gun are willing to give us "total freedom to carry" WITHOUT any training or background checks should be a HUGE RED FLAG!!! Give people enough rope to gang themselves...(Strike #3).
Lastly, I do want to delve into the hotly contested discussion of the Second Amendment. Here at K&M Safety Consultants, LLC. we hold, honor and defend our Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms.
A little history which many are trying to erase. When we were the colonies of England, English solders could and often did take peoples homes for their own use and kicked the home owners out of their houses. When the US Constitution was written, which Ohio's Constitution closely resembles, we just declared our Independence from England. When our Fore Fathers drafted our US Constitution, they clearly made sure Americans could defend their homes by means of force if necessary and that force could be by the use of firearms. Thus the Second Amendment. Hate to say it but that's it. The US Constitution does not say ANYTHING about the use of firearms OUTSIDE of our homes. Over the years, many people, courts, attorneys and especially politicians have tried to add, remove or even eliminate what the Constitution says or allows to suit their purpose.
In his article Mr. Zuckerman wrote of a 2003 opinion given by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer which stated, "a law at the time prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapon does not violate the constitution because "there is no constitutional right to bear concealed weapons." The right to bear arms, Pfeifer wrote, is fundamental, but not without limitations."
This being said, I too also believe that we have the Right to defend ourselves, within reason and responsibility. Yes, this may include less than lethal force such as pepper spray, tasers, unarmed self defense techniques, batons, baseball bats, etc. or even deadly weapons such as firearms. BUT, with that Right comes RESPONSIBILITY.
I believe "Constitutional Carry", "Open Carry", or whatever else someone wants to call it, is NOT safe and responsible for Ohio or anyone in this country. If you feel lead to protect yourself, do so armed not only with a firearm, but also with proper training from a Certified and QUALIFIED firearms instructor. So what if it costs money. Isn't your life and the life of your loved one worth it? Do we teach CCW just to scam money out of people like some accused us of? NO! If you can't legitimately afford any of our classes, including the CCW course, l'll do you for free.
Plus, you would actually will have more freedoms and rights to carry under Ohio's current CCW permit legislation than you would under any Constitutional Carry.
As always, what I are thought? Keep them civil as I know this is a heated topic but some times people don't hear the other side.
Here is a link to Mr. Zuckerman's article:
K&M Safety Consultants, LLC