Representatives Hood and Brinkman introduce HB 201 (Constitutional Carry)

Representatives Ron Hood (R-78) and Tom Brinkman (R-27) have introduced House Bill 201, a bill which seeks to have Ohio join the growing number of states which allow “constitutional” carry, or lawful carry of a concealed firearm without a license. 

Similar bills have been proposed in Ohio in every General Assembly for more than a decade. Hood and Brinkman introduced a similar bill in 2015, and Hood’s predecessor in the 78th District, John Adams, introduced similar bills in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Previous to that Brinkman introduced similar bills in 2004 and 2005.

HB 201 also seeks to remove the duty to notify law enforcement that one is carrying a concealed firearm. A separate bill to repeal the duty to notify was introduced recently by Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-1).

Constitutional carry is an exciting possibility for gun owners in Ohio. It used to be said that it only worked in rural Vermont. Alaska is considered wilderness and didn’t seem to matter either. Then, in 2010, Arizona passed a constitutional carry law. The success there has changed the thinking of many, and this once “radical” idea is becoming mainstream and is now working its way through many state legislatures. At least fourteen states now allow some form of unlicensed concealed carry — the most recent was signed into law this spring week in North Dakota — and at least nine other states are considering legislation.

It took a few years after Florida passed a “shall issue” law for the idea to become popular across the country. Will the Buckeye State see a similar change from blue to green? (See graphic)

We don’t need permission from the government to go to church or exercise our First Amendment right. Nor do we need a license to exercise our right for a speedy trial (Sixth Amendment.) It makes no sense that a person would need permission from the government to remain silent (Fifth Amendment) or be secure with our belongings that a Government can’t just take or search at their whim (Fourth Amendment). The whole idea in the “Bill of Rights” is that they are, well, rights. They are rights of the people, and our Founding Fathers codified them because government tends to overstep its bounds.

If we have the “right” to “keep” (own) and bear (carry) arms, then why do we need permission?

Society generally agrees that there are actions that will cause a person to lose some of their rights. A person convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail forfeits his Forth Amendment rights while imprisoned. He and his cell may be searched without his consent. Convicts also forfeit their Second Amendment rights.

The Second Amendment is the only right people have, that is commonly regulated to the point where they need a license (permission from the government) to exercise that right. This has lead many to the incorrect assumption that carrying a gun is a privilege, like driving, that can be highly regulated and exercised only by those with specific permission from the government.

Even though this bill would make desirable changes to Ohio’s concealed carry laws, it faces an uphill battle. Considering that the Ohio legislature has not even been willing to fully protect workers who wish to exercise their right keep a firearm in their personal vehicle while at work, or to allow victims of crime who defend themselves the same ‘innocent until proven’ guilty benefit we have everywhere else in the Ohio Revised Code – and considering that we had to move from four hours training to eight hours just to get HB 234 passed in 2014 – it’s safe to say we’re still a ways away from this becoming law in Ohio.

It must be noted that legislators in states like Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota and West Virginia did not suddenly change their position on firearms restrictions. Rather, voters sick of the status quo were involved in contacting their legislators. They explained the issues facing them and educated their officials about the need for change. They were polite and persistent and now they are reaping their just rewards. It will be interesting to see which state’s gun owners rally their legislators to become the next state to adopt constitutional carry.

Simple steps you can take to help the cause:

Does your club, range, and gun store hand out information about Buckeye Firearms Association?

Do instructors you know hand out Buckeye wallet cards?

Are members of clubs you belong to informed on firearms issues?

If not, talk to them about getting more involved. They saw an increase in business when concealed carry passed. Their success is directly related to the success of Buckeye Firearms Association. Help build a relationship that allows us to work together.

Reach out to non-shooters. Take them shooting with you and make it fun for them.

If we could each recruit one new person, we would double in size. Repeat as necessary until the desired results have been obtained.

For other ideas, visit our Grassroots Action Guide and read the 5-Minute Handbook for Grassroots Activists.

Read the entire text of HB 201 here.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA’s 2011 “Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award” and the CCRKBA’s 2012 “Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.”

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and a NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.