A bill that would make Ohio the 22nd state to enact a permitless gun-carry regime is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 215 cleared the Ohio state House on a 57-35 vote Wednesday afternoon. It then passed on concurrence in the Senate 24-8.
“A person who is a qualifying adult shall not be required to obtain a concealed handgun license in order to carry in this state… a concealed handgun that is not a restricted firearm,” the bill reads.
This is the first time a permitless gun-carry bill has cleared both chambers of a state legislature in 2022. The policy has become the most popular gun legislation in Republican-controlled states around the country in recent years. Six states passed and enacted a permitless carry regime in 2021 alone. Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, and Indiana are all considering similar policies.
In addition to making a concealed handgun license optional for adults who aren’t prohibited from owning guns, SB 215 would also do away with what’s known as the “duty to inform.”
Under current state law, a person must immediately notify a law enforcement officer if they are armed with a firearm during any encounter. SB 215 would change that requirement by mandating that an armed person notify an officer only when directly asked.
Gun-control organizations in the state have been critical of the bill throughout its journey through the state legislature, citing opposition from various law enforcement groups.
“It’s outrageous and frustrating that our lawmakers are ignoring law enforcement’s vocal opposition to permitless carry and continue to push through this dangerous bill,” Kristine Woodworth, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in Ohio, said in a press release.
Meanwhile, state gun rights groups like the Buckeye Firearms Association cheered the bill’s passing, calling it their “number one legislative priority” this year.
The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Mike DeWine. A spokesperson for Governor DeWine’s office would not comment on whether or not he intends to sign the bill, but said that he was reviewing the legislation.
“We are reviewing the bill, but I would note Governor DeWine has long supported the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for Governor DeWine, told The Reload.
Governor DeWine has previously said he would sign a permitless gun carry bill into law provided that it did not entirely do away with optional permitting.
If signed by the Governor, the law would go into effect in 90 days.