Local sheriffs adjust after Ohio gun permit law changes

People line up outside the Greene County Sheriff's office Thursday morning to apply for a CCW permit. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Caption
People line up outside the Greene County Sheriff's office Thursday morning to apply for a CCW permit. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

A recent change to Ohio law will make it easier for residents to apply for and renew concealed carry weapons permits and could lead to better service for them from sheriff’s offices, supporters said.

The change, which is connected to the coronavirus pandemic, allows Ohioans to seek or renew a concealed carry permit at any sheriff’s office in the state.

Previously, residents could only get a permit in the county they resided in or an adjoining county. That sometimes caused delays for those who wanted a permit because of how busy some of the sheriff’s offices were or because of the limited hours available at some offices.

Christopher W. Carter, who is from Montgomery County, was waiting in line to get a permit in Greene County on Thursday. He said it was easier access to get his permit in Greene County.

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“It’s just so much easier to be able to walk up and get this done,” Carter said. “It is absolutely worth the trip.”

Montgomery County’s permit office, which is by appointment only, has no availability for an appointment until next year, the sheriff’s office said.

The law change is prompting area sheriff’s offices to review how they handle the applications, and that’s good, according to Jim Irvine, a longtime Second Amendment advocate and lobbyist.

Irvine told the Dayton Daily News that the changes were needed to allow legal gun carriers to comply with the law.

He also said allowing Ohioans to go to any sheriff’s office in the state could increase competition among sheriff’s offices and lead to better services.

In Montgomery County, the conceal carry department also handles background checks, Sheriff’s officials said they are discussing making adjustments to the permit processes.

In Greene County, the sheriff will continue to allow walk-in appointments at the office at 105 E. Market Street, Xenia, which often attract lines of people.

“The window for all Ohio users will be open on Monday through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.," the Greene County Sheriff’s office said in a press release.

A provision in HB-614 allows county sheriffs to set a day aside for county residents only.

"Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. will now be set aside for Greene County residents only to apply for their CCW permits, and out-of-county residents will be turned away,” the Greene County sheriff’s office said.

The window closes at 3 p.m. each day to allow for clerical work, the statement said. The small lobby only accommodates one person at a time, and the waiting line is outside on the sidewalk.

“The wait in line can be lengthy at times, and there is no protection from any weather elements, so those who choose to utilize our facility should plan ahead for weather conditions,” the Greene County sheriff’s office said.

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In Clark County, sheriff’s officials said the impact of the new law should be minimal.

“We don’t anticipate too many changes,” Chief Deputy Jeff Meyer said.

Meyer said the office has changed to an appointment-only system because officials didn’t want many people waiting in the lobby because of COVID-19.

The state law changes were sparked because of a backup in permits due to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes will expire on June 30, 2021.

The new law also extends a person’s current license if it is scheduled to expire between March 9, 2020, and June 30, 2021, by 90 days or until June 30, 2021, whichever is later.

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