(WCMH) – A new gun law took effect in Ohio Monday. Current and former servicemen and women can get an Ohio Concealed Handgun License without paying the fee or going through a concealed carry class.
The bill sponsor, Ohio State Senator Lou Terhar, said it’s another step in making Ohio one of the most veteran-friendly states in the nation.
Senator Terhar is a veteran himself. He said it’s not a gun control law, but rather a way to say thank you to arguably the most responsible and best-trained gun owners in the country.
“Why is it that we have to pay to go do this when we did all this stuff in service?” Terhar asked.
That’s the question he said veterans at the VFW posed to him a few years ago.
“I thought to myself that’s an excellent question and there isn’t a good answer,” he said.
Senate Bill 81 waives the concealed carry permit fee for active duty military and retired and honorably discharged veterans. It also allows them to skip the CCW class by showing discharge papers with proof of military firearms experience.
“This absolutely did not expand any gun rights. It just allowed veterans to be able to access them,” Terhar said.
Marine Jermaine Ferguson with the American Legion Department of Ohio said it’s a gesture that has him ready to apply for his permit.
“It’s pretty much a thank you and we trust our veterans to be able to be honorable and maintain law and order in our community,” Ferguson said.
He’s confident the current and former soldiers who stand to benefit will take the rules and responsibilities that come with a permit seriously.
“Knowledge is power,” Ferguson said. “I strongly encourage every veteran to stay up on their training.”
Veterans and military members still have to pass all necessary background checks.