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Could Ohio State’s Concealed Carry Law be Undermined?

December 2, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's concealed carry law could be at risk of being undermined, should a bill pass that is now under consideration in the U.S. Senate. The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 (H.R. 822) would allow anyone who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon in one state to carry a concealed weapon in almost every other state.

As a result, says Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, those with a carry permit from states with more lax requirements could enter Ohio with a concealed weapon unchecked.

"Some of those states you can get permit to carry a concealed weapon over the Internet; some of them don't have records up-to-date as far as domestic abuse; some of them allow people under 21 to have them – and then, all of a sudden, Ohio would be allowing them to have the same privileges."

Supporters argue the legislation is needed to bring clarity to a complicated system, similar to the requirement that each state's drivers license be recognized in all other states. However, Hoover points out that it took a long time to get Ohio's concealed carry law passed, and she believes the bill would take away the Attorney General's power to meet with legal experts and decide whether another state's qualifications are strong enough.

Further, Hoover claims the legislation supports the view of some that there shouldn't be any rules about gun ownership or possession.

"The proponents of this kind of legislation say, 'We really don't want to have any rules; we want to be able to do whatever we please with whatever kind of gun we please,' where that's not the safest thing for the citizens."

Hoover adds most Ohioans do not carry guns and should not have to worry about more people carrying loaded, hidden weapons in public places.

"People have a right to be safe from gun violence, and you can't do that if you keep increasing the number of guns on the streets, in the parks, and in the restaurants and everyplace else."

The Ohio Attorney General has already granted 20 states gun permit reciprocity, because their requirements are similar to Ohio's. The federal legislation has passed in the House, with 12 of 15 voting Ohio representatives in favor. It has been read in the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH