COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gun-owning Ohioans are no longer required to carry a permit for their concealed firearm.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law Monday a bill that would eliminate a concealed carry permit requirement for Ohioans 21 and over who are legally eligible to own and carry a firearm in the state, according to a news release from DeWine’s office.

The governor’s signature of Senate Bill 215 comes about two weeks after the House of Representatives approved it in a 57-35 vote on March 2 and makes Ohio the 22nd state in the U.S. to allow permitless concealed carry, according to State Sen. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), who sponsored the bill.

About 700,000 Ohioans have active concealed carry licenses, according to a February report from Attorney General Dave Yost’s office.

Rob Sexton of the Buckeye Firearms Association, who spoke in favor of SB 215 before the Ohio Senate Veterans and Public Safety Committee in October, said the bill would remove “irrational and unnecessary” hurdles for law-abiding citizens seeking to exercise their right to bear arms.

“A person who lives, works and drives through areas that have recently exploded in violence should not have to complete government paperwork, submit to a background check, take a class, and then wait on the government to exercise a right guaranteed by the state of Ohio,” Sexton said.

With spikes in violent crime, Sexton said Ohioans interested in owning a firearm and receiving firearm training is “at all time highs.”

“People are genuinely and legitimately worried about their own safety and want to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Sexton said.

Under the bill, Ohioans would no longer need to inform police officers with whom they are interacting that a concealed weapon is in their possession, according to the bill’s text.

Instead, police officers would bear the burden of asking the person if they have a concealed weapon, to which the gun owner must answer truthfully — or be slapped with a second-degree misdemeanor.

Michael Weinman, director of government affairs for the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, said dropping the notification requirement was “one of the critical points” that led the FOP to oppose SB 215.

“We see the notification as a commonsense measure to keep the permit holder and officer safe,” Weinman said.

He further expressed concern that eliminating the notification requirement could lead to “repeated denials” by concealed carry owners to comply with law enforcement’s inquiries about them possessing a firearm, putting officers in potentially dangerous situations.

“By essentially eliminating the CHL, the number of individuals carrying concealed handguns will undoubtedly increase. And with that increase, individuals who have not had any training have not been subject to a background check and can avoid a suspension or revocation by a sheriff,” Weinman said. “Will officers be faced with more gun violence?”