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By Mike Cicero, Member, and John Moenk, Associate

On March 14, 2022, Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 215, which became effective as of June 13, 2022. This bill removed the requirement for an individual to apply for and obtain a concealed handgun license (commonly referred to as a “concealed carry permit” or “concealed carry license”) before carrying a concealed firearm in Ohio. In doing so, Governor DeWine made Ohio the 23rd state to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms without a permit or license.

Under Ohio’s new law, any adult 21 years of age or older and not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, may now carry a concealed firearm without first receiving training as was required under the previous permit laws. Ohioans may still opt to complete firearm training – and are recommended to do so – and may also still apply for a concealed carry permit which may be honored in other states. (An individual should always check with the state in question as to whether they recognize other states’ issued permits and licenses.)

Certain restrictions remain in place. Concealed carry of a firearm that is a “dangerous ordnance” or is otherwise prohibited by any state or federal law remains forbidden. In addition, individuals are still prohibited from carrying firearms into certain places, such as police stations, school safety zones, or courthouses. This list is not exhaustive – handgun owners should always review whether concealed firearms are permitted before entering a building.

The new law also modifies the transport of concealed firearms in a vehicle and the duty to notify law enforcement of a concealed firearm in the vehicle. Previously, a person was required to notify law enforcement immediately of such guns when pulled over by law enforcement. Under the new law, an individual with a concealed firearm in a vehicle only needs to disclose that information after being asked by law enforcement.

In response to this new law, several municipalities are considering legislation that would require mandatory forfeiture of a firearm when a person is convicted of a local weapons ordinance (these forfeiture provisions were expressly reserved to political subdivisions when the Ohio Legislature enacted Revised Code Chapter 2981 in 2007).