Ohio Senate OKs concealed guns in government buildings, colleges

Guns would be allowed in city halls, libraries and other buildings without weapon screening

Gun owners with concealed carry permits would be allowed to carry their firearms into city halls, libraries, recreation centers, and other public buildings that lack security checkpoints, according to changes made to a bill passed by lawmakers Wednesday.

The Ohio Senate amended House Bill 48 to broaden the scope of places where CCW permitholders may carry guns and passed it on a 23-9 vote late Wednesday.

House Bill 48 seeks to broaden the scope of places where CCW permitholders may carry guns, including public areas of airport terminals and day care centers that don’t otherwise post a firearms prohibition.

Additionally, it allows permitholders to carry concealed weapons on college campuses if that school’s board of trustees allows it.

The bill received extra attention in the wake of the car-knife attack on Ohio State University’s main campus on Nov. 28. Supporters say they want to be able to defend themselves while on campus and not have to wait for police response. OSU Officer Alan Horujko shot and killed suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan within minutes of Artan driving his brother’s silver Honda into students and staff on a sidewalk and then cutting and stabbing them with a butcher knife.

The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association oppose the bill. The Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association supports it.

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, delayed a vote until Thursday on Senate Bill 199, which would grant protected class status to workers who hold concealed weapons permits. The provision is backed gun rights advocates but opposed by big business groups.

Essentially, it would be unlawful discrimination to fire a worker or refuse to hire someone because they hold a CCW permit or they have a firearm in their vehicle.

“Clearly employers have no right to restrict what employees possess when the employee is not on company property, not on company time and not in a company vehicle,” said Jim Irvine of the Buckeye Firearms Association in written testimony.

Alex Boehnke of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants said the provision would leave employers guessing about the legal ramifications and it conflicts with employer protections included in the original concealed carry law.

The bill would also allow active duty military members to carry concealed weapons without obtaining a permit as long as they have military ID and proof of specific training.

State lawmakers took on other issues Wednesday:


Lawmakers rolled together restrictions on minimum wage rates, pet stores, bestiality, cockfighting and high-speed cell phone technology into one convoluted, controversial bill and passed it out of the House on Wednesday during the lame duck session.

Senate Bill 331, also known as the “Petland Bill,” started out as an effort to block local government from regulating where pet stores can buy puppies. (Grove City — outside of Columbus — and Toledo have such local restrictions.) The bill turned out to be unpopular with animal welfare advocates and city leaders who favor local control.

Then this week in committee, House members folded into SB331 two items popular with animal rights groups: restrictions on cockfighting and bearbaiting and an explicit ban on sexual contact with animals. (Ohio is one of a handful of states where bestiality isn’t specifically prohibited by law.)

Also attached to the bill is a ban on local governments setting minimum wage rates different than the state rate. Cleveland residents are scheduled to vote in May on whether to phase in a $15 an hour local minimum wage. And lawmakers added regulations on the construction and attachment of micro wireless equipment in city public right of ways, which they say will lead to quicker deployment of 5G cell phone technology statewide.

Also tossed in is language that grants private employers exclusive authority to set their workers’ schedules, fringe benefits and location — a hedge against any efforts to curb the use of flexible scheduling practices that are popular in the retail and restaurant industries.

State Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, said businesses want uniform regulations — whether they’re running pet store chains, wireless telecom companies, or outlets that pay minimum wage or use flexible scheduling.

“This is really about keeping Ohio business friendly,” Smith said.

The House voted 55-40 in favor of the amended bill, after a 45 minute debate. The Senate later agreed to the changes.


The Ohio House voted 81-7 in favor of bill to address the state’s high infant mortality rates. Senate Bill 332 is sponsored by state Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Clearcreek Twp. The Senate later agreed to the House changes so the bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

In Other News