COLUMBUS —Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) issued a statement today after Gov. DeWine signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 215, extreme permitless concealed carry legislation that puts Ohioans and law enforcement in danger. SB 215 will allow any Ohioan, aged 21 years or older, to carry a concealed handgun without a permit and without any training, provided they are not otherwise prohibited under state or federal law. Additionally, this bill modifies “duty to notify” requirements and reduces the penalty for failure to notify to a misdemeanor with no accompanying license suspension. Democrats had called on the governor to veto this legislation last week.
“This is yet another example of failed Republican leadership,” said Leader Russo. “Removing these responsible and reasonable precautions compromises the safety and security of our communities and law enforcement. SB 215 completely betrays Ohioans who have called time after time for commonsense gun safety legislation, not extreme bills that endanger the lives of our children and families. Republicans have made it crystal clear that they value the approval of the gun lobby more than the lives of Ohioans and the police officers who protect our communities every day.”
In 2020, over 2,000 concealed carry licenses were revoked, and 1,777 licenses were denied by sheriff’s offices across Ohio. Attorney General Yost’s 2021 Statistics on Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) in Ohio, released the morning of the House floor vote of SB 215, revealed 420 CHLs revoked for cause, such as a felony conviction or an adjudication as mentally incompetent. There were another 1,880 CHLs suspended, for a total of 2,300 revocations and suspensions in 2021. Another 2,668 applicants were denied CHLs because they did not meet statutory requirements. That’s a total of 4,968 people who were without a CHL in Ohio in 2021 because they were not fit to have one.
Opponents of SB 215 include law enforcement, notably the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, gun safety advocates and civil rights groups. Democrats introduced several commonsense gun safety measures to SB 215 during House session on March 2, but all were rejected by Republicans.