Ohio’s gun laws recently underwent a change. Governor Mike DeWine signed into law Ohio Senate Bill No. 215. This new law has made it much easier for people to legally carry, possess, or legally conceal a handgun.

The new law allows people a lot more freedom in regard to how they want to handle a handgun. However, there are certain caveats in place that must be taken into account, such as the fact that the law only applies to “qualified adults.”

While we are going to primarily focus on what Senate Bill No. 215 has changed, it is worth noting that there are a number of bills relating to Ohio’s gun laws that are still being debated and considered. We will briefly look at what other changes may be coming for Ohio gun owners after we discuss the new law and how it affects those coming into or leaving our state.

How Does the New Permitless Carry Law Work?

The new law is what we refer to as a “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” law. The new law only covers handguns, so other types of firearms are not affected by the new change. Basically, the law makes it easier for people to carry a handgun.

Previously, if you wanted to carry a concealed handgun, then you had to go through the process of obtaining a concealed handgun license (CHL). Getting a CHL was a whole process that involved training and preparation, with the idea being that a person should have some minimum level of hands-on training and education in order to be allowed to carry a concealed handgun.

Under the new law, a concealed handgun license is no longer necessary in order to legally carry a concealed handgun. While the new law certainly makes it much easier to legally own and possess a handgun, there are quite a few points of consideration that we should highlight.

Earlier, we mentioned that the new law only applies to “qualified adults.” But who is a qualified adult? Under S.B. 215, a “qualified adult” is an individual who is at least 21 years of age and who has not been legally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal or state law. Additionally, they must satisfy the criteria described in Section 2923.125 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Another important point to keep in mind is that business owners can prohibit firearms in their buildings or on their property. So a grocery store, for example, may post a sign prohibiting firearms from their premises. Likewise, an employer may choose to ban firearms across their properties. This would mean that a firearm could not be brought into the workplace or onto any property owned by the employer, such as a work vehicle.

Those who are permitlessly carrying a handgun are subject to the same laws that somebody with a concealed handgun license would be. The big exception to this is that a person who is permitlessly carrying a weapon is not allowed to carry a handgun within a school safety zone, nor are they allowed to have a handgun in their car while driving into a school safety zone.

What Happens If You’re From Another State or Leave Ohio?

If you are vacationing in Ohio, then you might wonder if it means that you can legally carry a concealed handgun without a permit. The answer is that yes, you can. This new law does not have a residency requirement.

If it had a residency requirement, then it would mean that only people who live in Ohio are allowed to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. But since there is no residency requirement, it means that you can carry a handgun without a CHL so long as you are not prohibited from carrying a firearm for another reason, such as being under the age of 21 or being barred from possessing a firearm due to your criminal history.

Of course, this also works the other way. If you are from Ohio and you travel out of state, then you will no longer be governed by Ohio’s gun laws. Each state has its own gun laws and you will be subject to that state’s gun laws upon entering.

Since each state has its own gun laws, it is incredibly important to check out what a particular state’s laws are before entering. While you may keep a concealed handgun on your person or in your vehicle without a CHL, it may become a crime the moment you cross a state line.

What Other Changes Might Be Coming?

While S.B. 215 is the big change to Ohio’s gun laws that came about in 2022, there are a few other potential changes that could be coming down the road soon. As of this writing, these bills are still being discussed in hearings.

  • House Bill 62: The Ohio Second Amendment Safe Haven Act; this bill argues that infringement is invalid, prohibiting people from enforcing federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Senate Bill 185: This bill makes firearm stores and ranges into essential businesses that cannot be closed due to something like a pandemic. Additionally, it bans police from confiscating weapons.
  • Senate Bill 293: This bill prohibits any laws that would require fees or liability insurance to own a gun.

In addition to these laws that may be changing, a few other changes have been made already. House Bill 99 changed the amount of training that school personnel must have to carry a weapon on the premises.

What If I End Up On the Wrong Side of Ohio’s Gun Laws?

While Ohio’s new gun laws certainly make it easier for somebody to carry a handgun, that doesn’t mean that legal issues or misguided charges related to possession are going to go away. It is still important to work with an experienced attorney to fight against any gun-related charges you are faced with. Don’t hesitate and risk your future; speak to an attorney today about how to fight back.