Another bill changing the state’s concealed-carry weapons law is before an Ohio Senate committee.
Two groups involved in the issue are once again clashing over the proposed changes. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
It’s no secret that law enforcement has had serious concerns about concealed-carry weapons permits. And this bill to make some changes in the law brings up some of the same old issues for police officers, deputies and troopers. Mike Weinman with the Fraternal Order of Police says the bill reintroduces the idea that Ohio will recognize the concealed-carry permits issued in other states – states that he says don’t have the same kinds of standards that Ohio does.
“Virginia is doing an online test, which doesn’t meet Ohio requirements. That just makes you sit up and take notice of what these different training standards – if any at all – are in these other states. For example, Indiana doesn’t do any type of training. So do we want someone without any training carrying guns into bars in the state of Ohio?”
But supporters of the law say reciprocity is only fair, and not really all that controversial. Jim Irvine is with the Buckeye Firearms Association.
“Different states have different standards for driver’s license, but we don’t say, ‘well, that’s tough - we’re not going to honor Indiana’s driver’s license because we don’t like that.’ We honor all drivers’ licenses. Yeah, there’s different standards, but unless there’s some indication that there’s a danger or a problem with some other states standards, why wouldn’t we accept it?”
The bill also lowers the amount of required training for first-time concealed carry weapons permit applicant from 12 hours to eight. Irvine says that change will actually encourage more people who are applying for concealed-carry weapons permits for the first time to get what he considers the most important hours of training – the first few hours.
“Twelve hours isn’t going to necessarily make them proficient. So the 12 hours doesn’t really solve our problem. Eight hours isn’t going to do that either. But let’s get them in, get them something, and then it’s up to the instructor to say, hey, you need this much more or that much more before I sign you off. And a lot of instructors don’t sign people off at the end of 12 hours – and you shouldn’t, if they’re not ready to carry a firearm yet, if they’re not ready to meet the standard.”
But Weinman with the FOP says eight hours isn’t enough – and 12 hours probably isn’t either, especially when the requirement to get training before the permit’s renewal has been revoked.
“They need range time. Sorry. You need to be able to get out there and be able to fire that firearm. Classroom is fine, but sending somebody out there for two minutes or whatever – because there’s no time requirement on how long they stay on the range and do live fire training.”
Another controversial provision in the bill was pulled – it would have prohibited what opponents say are “sham leases” issued by communities to private entities to get around the law. The goal was to stop groups from leasing public parks and posting signs prohibiting concealed-carry permits. But there was concern about how that provision would affect facilities that ban weapons but are on public land, such as COSI in Columbus.