The movement to remove permit requirements for the concealed carry of a gun has chalked up another win.
“The job of the governor is to make tough decisions,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine told reporters after a permitless gun-carry bill was sent to his desk. “And I have a decision to make.”
On Monday, he made his decision. Permitless carry is now officially state law. That makes Ohio the second state this year and the 23rd state overall to adopt the policy.
People over 21-years-old who are legally allowed to own a gun will be legally allowed to carry one concealed without first obtaining a permit from the state. The changes come less than two weeks after the legislature passed Senate Bill 215 by wide margins in both houses.
It also comes as permitless carry has swept across Republican-controlled states at a historic pace. Six states adopted the policy in 2022, including Texas which is now the largest state with permitless carry. It has already become the dominant way to regulate concealed carry in the United States and is on pace to be adopted by half of the states in the union by the end of 2022.
Alabama adopted the policy last week. Georgia, Nebraska, and Indiana also appear to be on the cusp of adopting it as well. Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R.) has also said he would sign the policy into law if it reached his desk, though the legislature appears unlikely to deliver a bill this year.
The rise of permitless carry has been nothing short of meteoric. Before 2009, only Alaska and Vermont were permitless for concealed carry.
Gun-rights advocates have cheered the progression of the policy, dubbing it “Constitutional carry.” The National Rifle Association, which has backed the policy in states across the country, said the Ohio law is an important step that “protects the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Buckeyes.”
“Any right requiring a fee or government permission slip isn’t much of a right at all. That’s why the NRA worked tirelessly with state leaders and legislators to pass this landmark legislation in Ohio,” Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm, said in a statement.
Gun-control advocates, on the other hand, have decried permitless carry as “dangerous.” They cite opposition from some police groups as indicative of why the policies should not be adopted.
“Today, Governor DeWine sided with the gun lobby over public safety, over the safety of Ohio’s law enforcement officers who work every day to protect our communities,” Kristine Woodworth, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “Our state has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, and today we lost one of the last foundational public safety measures on the books – for no reason other than to satisfy the gun lobby.”
The bill also modifies Ohio’s “duty to inform” standard. When asked by police, people in Ohio will be required to tell police if they are armed.
The new law will go into effect in 90 days.