Ohio’s expanded concealed carry weapons (CCW) law has been in place for a month, allowing people with CCW permits to bring their handguns into previously forbidden places, including child care centers, workplace parking lots and airport terminals.
Ohio legislators passed the bill in the December lame duck session and it was signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, taking effect March 21.
The bill was controversial. Business leaders opposed the bill, arguing that it is a government mandate requiring them to let employees bring their guns onto company property even if the business has a no-guns policy.
Gun safety advocates said it would make people less safe and criticized Ohio’s continued push to expand the places where guns are allowed. The state has been broadening the concealed carry law since it was first passed in 2004.
“I just don’t think the proliferation of guns everywhere is an answer,” said Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton. “The straw that broke the camel’s back is the personal property issue.”
But proponents of expanded concealed carry rights said the new law gives people the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights and to protect themselves with handguns in more places.
State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said he supported the expanded gun rights bill because it “was a very pro-Second Amendment bill.”
“The vast majority of CCW holders are good citizens and law-abiding,” Antani said.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of concealed-carry. About half allow people to bring their guns to the parking lot of their workplace.
Ohio’s law covers only people who have concealed carry permits for handguns. They may bring the gun to their workplace parking lot as long as it is kept locked in their vehicle. A company many not discipline them for doing so.
The law aso expands CCW rights in school zones and airport terminals. It gives government officials - such as county commissioners or city councils - and the trustees of colleges and universities the ability to vote to allow concealed carry on their premises.
Businesses were already permitted to allow guns on their property but the law expands that rule to child care centers, which had been prohibited from allowing people to bring in guns.
There are limitations for federal facilities, such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and post offices, which can continue to ban guns from their property.