Changes to Ohio’s Concealed Carry License (CCL) Laws

December 23, 2016

On December 19, 2016, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 199. The law will take effect on March 13, 2017. Several areas of change generated considerable controversy during the legislative process:

Changes Affecting Colleges and Universities

Concealed carry is now permitted if a college, university, or higher education institution’s governing body adopts a policy that authorizes specific individuals or classes of individuals to carry concealed handguns on the premises. If a higher education institution does decide to permit handguns on its property or in institution-owned vehicles, the institution will be exempt from liability for injuries allegedly caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises.

Changes Affecting Private Employers

Private employers are still permitted to ban firearms from their property and from employer-owned vehicles, and private employers are generally exempt from liability for injuries caused by a licensee who does bring a handgun onto the employer’s property or an employer-owned vehicle.

However, a new provision forbids businesses, property owners, and public and private employers from enforcing any policy or rule that prohibits CCL holders from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition if it remains in the person’s privately owned vehicle while the CCL holder is in the vehicle or the guns and ammunition are all locked in the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or container, and the vehicle is in a location where it is otherwise allowed to be. Unless they intentionally solicit or procure the injurious action, the business, property owner, or public or private employer cannot be held liable for any injury, damage, or death arising out of someone’s action – including theft – involving firearms or ammunition transported or stored this way.

Changes Affecting Active Duty Service Members

The bill originated as an effort to put active duty members of the armed forces in the same position as individuals who had obtained concealed carry permits, so for example, they would be exempt from Ohio’s ban on keeping a loaded gun within reach while in a vehicle. The active duty member must carry valid military identification and documentation of successful completion of firearms training. A service member who fails to show the required identification and training documentation when stopped by a police officer can still escape any penalty by presenting those to the law enforcement agency within 10 days.

Also, like individuals with concealed carry permits, active duty members are exempted from the general ban on carrying handguns into school zones so long as the handgun remains in the person’s vehicle and the vehicle is locked if the person exits the vehicle. The active duty member is also exempted from the general ban on carrying weapons into courthouses, so long as the gun is handed over to the officer in charge of the courthouse.

Some Property Owners’ Rights Are Unchanged

Concealed carry is still prohibited in churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship unless the religious entity posts or chooses to permit it.

Concealed carry is still banned in local government facilities (other than buildings primarily used as shelters, restrooms, or parking facilities), but the governing body that controls the facility can enact a policy, statute, or ordinance that permits concealed carry.

Private property owners and private persons who lease government property can still post notices banning firearms from their property. However, residential landlords cannot restrict tenants who have a CCL from bringing a handgun onto the premises. A tenant’s guests are also permitted to carry a handgun onto the landlord’s premises so long as the CCL tenant is present.

For questions about these changes, contact Lisa Pizza at (419) 252-6227.