State Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wayne County) has officially introduced his “Duty to Notify” legislation under House Bill 89. The bill puts clarity on ambiguous language related to concealed handgun license (CHL) holders and removes severe penalties regarding the law.
“The legislation seeks to protect the rights of our CHL holders within Wayne County and throughout Ohio,” said Wiggam. “I have introduced the Duty to Notify bill in the House in the past and I’m hoping to get it over the finish line during the 134th General Assembly.”
Wiggam notes that with current law, the duty to notify a police officer of carrying a firearm is vaguely written and carries some of the harshest penalties in the nation for Ohio’s more than 673,000 CHL holders. It is written that a licensee stopped for any law enforcement purpose must notify law enforcement “promptly” that they are carrying a handgun. The language has caused confusion due to its various interpretations. House Bill 89 clarifies that an individual must only notify if the officer asks if they are carrying a firearm.
“How can law-abiding citizens attempt to follow the law when it’s clearly not well-defined? The bill I’ve introduced puts the control of conduct back in the hands of officers as it is their duty and job to correctly enforce our laws,” Wiggam added.
Additionally, current law has a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. House Bill removes the penalty for violating duty to notify, but an individual is still required by law to comply with an officer’s order.
This bill also takes away reasons to unnecessarily charge law-abiding Ohioans. For example, if someone doesn’t “promptly” notify the officer, they can be additionally charged with failure to comply with an officer, leading to further unprecedented and unintended incidents that could have been prevented.
Throughout the U.S., 41 other states do not have a duty to notify for their concealed carry holders, and of the nine states that do have the law, Ohio currently has the most severe penalty for violating the duty to notify.
Last year, Wiggam’s Duty to Notify bill passed within the Ohio House, but did not advance on the Senate floor. The newly-introduced House Bill 89 has 12 cosponsors and was assigned to the House State and Local Government Committee.