Greene County loosens CCW restrictions for government buildings

Concealed carry permit holders will be able to carry their firearms into certain governmental buildings in Greene County, and county employees who can legally carry a concealed firearm may be armed while at work.

Greene County commissioners recently approved a workplace policy change that loosens the CCW restrictions following a change in the state law.

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Senate Bill 199 went into effect in March 2017, and among its provisions is allowing local governments to pass new policies that permit concealed-carry licensees to carry concealed handguns into government buildings, according to the Buckeye Firearms Association.

“There was a blanket restriction on any government-owned building,” said Joe Eaton, BFA Southwest Ohio spokesman. “Several cities were looking for ways to allow employees to carry … Judges for instance didn’t fall under the law enforcement exemption.”

In Greene County, it will be up to individual elected officials to determine whether they will allow concealed-carry into their buildings, provided their building is not on the list where the ban will remain in place, according to County Administrator Brandon Huddleson.

Credit: Greg Lynch

Credit: Greg Lynch

Certain buildings will still be off-limits to legally concealed firearms, including courthouses, police agencies and jails.

The advisory banning legally concealed firearms has already been removed from the front doors of the county administration building and the Greene County Treasurer’s Office, at 15 Greene St.

Treasurer Dick Gould said he was glad to see the law change.

“I feel much more comfortable in an environment where people who have gone through background checks and gone through the training and have the ability to have a gun, they can act as a deterrent to criminals who haven’t gone through that,” Gould said. “I’m a strong believer that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

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Greene County Auditor David Graham, whose office is located in the building shared by the recorder’s office and the county prosecutor’s office, said it’s not clear yet whether the restrictions will change for his building.

“In my case, it’s a complex issue because I share the building with other elected officials,” said Graham, who plans to meet with Recorder Eric C. Sears and Prosecutor Stephen Haller to discuss the issue.

Graham said there is concern because the prosecutor’s office is a place where meetings take place with victims and witnesses of crimes.

Graham said if it was just his office, he would probably allow concealed-carry, providing that his staff would be comfortable with the change.

“I think there are legitimate reasons why you should be able to, and there are legitimate reasons why you shouldn’t,” he said.

Elections Board Director Llyn McCoy said she is conferring with the county prosecutor on whether she will be changing the policy for her building, at 551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia.

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The ban remains in place in neighboring counties. Montgomery and Warren counties have similar policies in place, in which county employees and members of the public are not permitted to carry a concealed firearm into any county property, nor are they permitted to carry a firearm while in a company-owned vehicle or conducting county business outside of the office.

But the counties did adjust the policies to comply with the new law, which allows employees of public entities and private businesses and members of the public with concealed-carry permits to leave their firearms secured inside their vehicles.

For Larry Moore, a Buckeye Firearms Association regional leader in Greene County, the change in law was necessary because people who went through the process of becoming licensed to conceal a firearm were being prevented from protecting themselves. Moore said that was especially true for women going through a divorce or other domestic dispute in which the other party would know when they would be armed and when they wouldn’t.

“We are the background-checked people that have applied through the sheriffs to get concealed-carry licenses, so we’re drug-free, we’re not felons … why limit the rights of a private citizen who’s gone through the hoops to prove they’re law-abiding?” Moore said. “Sadly, in today’s social environment, we can run into issues at lots of places now. Having the ability to have it in your car … it’s a good thing.”

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