The bill, introduced Wednesday by Reps. Ron Hood of Ashville and Matt Lynch of Bainbridge Township in Geauga County, would allow any person who is at least 21 years old to carry a concealed firearm, so long as they are not legally prohibited for some reason from having guns.
Lynch described it as the “constitutional carry bill.”
The change would leave in place other restrictions, Lynch said. Bans on carrying firearms in some buildings, for example, would still be allowed. But it would eliminate several steps people who wish to carry a concealed weapon now must take before they can legally do so.
As part of the process for getting the concealed carry license, applicants are fingerprinted and put through criminal and mental competency background checks. They also must show certification of firearms competency, obtained through firearms or peace officer training.
“The right in the Second Amendment is the only one in the Bill of Rights that you have to get permission for,” Lynch said.
“You don’t have to have a speech license or a worship license or a freedom of the press license,” he said. “This is designed to put the Second Amendment on equal footing.”
House Speaker William G. Batchelder, a Medina Republican, has not seen the bill and as such not taken any position on it, said Mike Dittoe, spokesman for the House Republican caucus. With the House not scheduled to have any sessions the remainder of this year, it will be January before the bill is assigned to a committee for hearings.
Lynch said House members have shown support for gun rights in the past, and that he is optimistic there could be bipartisan support for the bill.
The Ohio Association of Police Chiefs declined to take a position, citing a lack of time to review the 125-page pieces of legislation. Efforts to reach the leader of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association were unsuccessful.