NEW OHIO LAW PERMITS (GUNS) WITHOUT PERMITS

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Patricia Tsipras

June 27, 2022

Effective June 13, 2022, Ohio’s “Permitless Carry” law eliminates several rules for carrying concealed firearms.

Content of the Law
The law, Senate Bill 215, eliminates the requirement that Ohio gun owners have a permit or complete the eight-hour handgun-training course to carry and conceal a firearm, as well as the requirement for gun carriers to inform police, unless asked, that they are carrying a concealed weapon.

The law applies to Ohioans 21 years of age or older who are not otherwise forbidden under state or federal law to possess or receive a firearm, among other criteria.

The law allows gun owners to voluntarily opt for a concealed weapons permit.  Doing so would allow gun owners to carry a concealed weapon in states with reciprocity agreements recognizing such permits.

Reaction to the Law Is Mixed
Ohio enacted the law in March, becoming the 23rd State to allow permitless carry.  The law has faced opposition from lawmakers and authorities who argue that permitless concealed carry makes it more difficult for law enforcement to prevent gun crimes and, thus, threatens public safety.  Meanwhile, others are frustrated that the law was passed as the country mourns the losses from recent gun violence in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa.

Employer Take-aways
Rules and signage still can be enforced.

Despite the new law, private employers are free to enforce rules, policies, or practices “concerning or prohibiting the presence of firearms on the private employer’s premises or property, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer.”

In addition, the new law does nothing to change existing Ohio law that permits employers to post a sign notifying individuals that they are prohibited from carrying a firearm on the premises.  Violating such signage could lead to penalties for criminal trespass.

The “parking lot rule” remains in effect.

The new law does not address and, therefore, does not affect Ohio’s “parking lot rule.”  Ohio law allows individuals with a valid concealed carry license to bring firearms and ammunition in their privately owned motor vehicles onto their employer’s parking lots, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • when the license holder is absent from the privately owned motor vehicle, the firearm and ammunition must be locked in the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment of the vehicle;
  • when the license holder is present in the privately owned motor vehicle, the firearm and ammunition must remain in the vehicle; and
  • when the license holder’s privately owned motor vehicle is parked in a permitted location.

Employers may be immune from liability for handgun use.

The new law restates private employers’ immunity from civil liability related to employee’s handgun use.  Specifically, private employers will be immune from civil liability for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly is caused by or related to an individual bringing a handgun onto their employer’s property or premises, including in motor vehicles owned by the private employer, unless the employer acted with malicious purpose.

 

*Special thanks to Claire Miller, our intern from the University of Notre Dame, for her contributions to this article.

 
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