Workers at the states’s largest single-site employer, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, won’t be allowed to bring their handguns to work even though a new state law says employees with concealed-carry permits can keep their guns in locked cars on company property.
“Wright-Patterson AFB is an exclusive federal jurisdiction and therefore CCW holders are not authorized to carry privately owned weapons on base,” said Daryl Mayer, media operations sections chief at the base, which employs about 27,000 people.
Other federal employers, such as the U.S. Postal Service, also are exempt from a state law that drew deep objections from business leaders.
In the legislation, the Ohio General Assembly in December expanded the CCW law to overrule private employer’s “no-guns” policies. The law, which takes effect Tuesday, March 21, does not require businesses to let employees bring guns inside their buildings.
Federal employers don’t have to follow the law, however.
“This law does not apply to buildings or parking lots owned or controlled by the Postal Service, where possession or storage of firearms is not permitted,” said David Van Allen, spokesman for the Postal Service’s northern Ohio and Ohio Valley districts.
“The Postal Service regulation was held to be constitutional by a federal appeals court, which found that the prohibition did not violate the Second Amendment,” Van Allen said.
In 2015 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned a lower court ruling that would have allowed guns in private cars on postal service property.
Employees and others also cannot bring their guns to the federal court building in Dayton, said U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice.
“Federal installations are not bound by the state law except in certain situations which I don’t think are relevant,” Rice said. “My opinion is that it is not applicable to federal facilities unless the federal installation decides to adopt that portion of the law. What I said applies to the parking lot as well.”
Rice said Ohio’s expansion of open carry and concealed-carry laws concern him.
“I think open carry (and concealed-carry) laws, with all due deference to the Second Amendment, which I support…are dangerous to any community because of the epidemic of mental health issues throughout this country,” he said. “Putting guns in the hands of mentally incompetent people is a recipe for disaster.”
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