Half-a-million Ohioans have concealed carry permits — the most ever documented. However, some big changes could be coming to the necessary requirements for carrying a gun.
“Being able to fall back on that training helps immensely,” said Rick Baker, the owner of the Training Range in Austintown.
He’s not just speaking as a business owner — Baker also has 23 years of law enforcement experience.
Currently, to apply for a concealed carry permit, an Ohio resident must:
– Complete an eight-hour course
– Complete six hours of classroom training
– Complete two hours of live-range shooting
– Apply for a permit to carry at their county sheriff’s office
Of course, there are fees involved and a background check is performed that would flag any felons or other disqualifying factors.
“The range part of it is important because you want to be proficient in what you are shooting at. We have people that go in there and literally hit the floor three feet in front of the firing line,” Baker said.
That could be changing in Ohio if House Bill 174 passes.
Two House Republicans have co-sponsored the bill known as “constitutional carry.” It has the support of 27 other House Republicans, along with newly-elected Governor Mike DeWine.
If the bill becomes law, any law-abiding citizen over 21 would be able to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
The bill also includes the following changes:
– Changing the word “handgun” to “weapon,” meaning rifles and shotguns would be allowed
– Eliminate the need for a driver to notify a police officer that they have a gun if they are stopped
– No required training, including the eight-hour classes and live-range firing
“I think it is going to create a bad situation because we have people coming in here for concealed carry course that really need that update on what they can and cannot do,” Baker said. “Some of the questions we’re asked in there are just really jaw-dropping”
Some second amendment proponents also question the proposed absence of training. Chris Newman, of Niles, is one of them.
“Your right to carry shouldn’t be determined by a politician, or a sheriff or anyone like that, but I still think you should have some sort of training,” he said.
West Virginia is one of 15 states to have already passed “constitutional carry” into law.
Pennsylvania does not require any classroom or live fire training, but you do still have to apply with a sheriff’s office for a concealed carry permit.