Senate approves bill that could change Ohio concealed handgun carry laws


Woman taking a concealed handgun from her purse - Joshua Minso licensed via Deposit Photos

Kettering, Ohio -On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, the Ohio Senate passed S.B. 215, which would make significant changes to Ohio’s concealed carry laws.

If enacted, S.B. 215 would make three major changes to existing law regarding concealed carry of handguns. Current law requires an Ohio resident to obtain a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to be allowed to carry a weapon concealed. To obtain a CHL, applicants must complete 8 hours of firearms training, have fingerprints taken, and pass a criminal background check. Under the proposal passed by S.B. 215 Any “qualified person” 21 years old or older would be able to carry a concealed handgun without any license. Consequently, Ohio residents 21 and older who do not have a criminal record and have not been adjudged by a Court to be mentally ill, will be able to carry a concealed handgun without a license. This means that Ohioans would be allowed to carry guns without any background check and without any firearms training.

Current law also requires that CHL holders notify law enforcement officers who stop a CHL holder’s vehicle to notify the officer immediately that they are a CHL holder and that they have a weapon on their person or in the vehicle. S.B. 215 would remove this requirement. Under the proposal, individuals carrying a concealed weapon would not have any duty to inform law enforcement of the presence of a weapon, unless the officer asks whether the person has a gun. S.B. 215 also says that law enforcement would be prohibited from stopping a person, who is otherwise obeying the law because they are carrying a concealed weapon. If you would like to read the full text of S.B. 215, the version of the bill that the Senate passed on December 15, 2021, can be found at

The Legislature took speedy action on the bill this week. The Senate Veterans and Public Safety Committee passed the legislation on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, on a vote of 5-2. The Committee held 3 hearings on the bill on September 21, 2021, October 5, 2021, and December 14, 2021. The Committee passed S.B. 215 despite receiving testimony from approximately 82 individuals and organizations who opposed the proposal. The Committee only documented receiving testimony from 9 individuals and organizations who supported S.B. 215.

The Veterans and Public Safety Committee vote was split along party lines with 5 Republicans, Bob D. Hacket, Terry Johnson, Steve Wilson, Frank Hoagland, and Bob Paterson voting No. The two Democrats on the Committee, Teresa Fedor and Cecil Thomas, both voted No.

The full Senate then took up S.B. 215 on December 15, 2021. The Senate passed S.B. 215 on a 23-8 vote. All 23 Yes votes were from Republicans and all 8 No votes were from Democrats. Kettering’s State Senator, Niraj Antani co-sponsored S.B. 215 and voted Yes for the bill.

Several law enforcement entities, including the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), have opposed S.B. 215. Kettering Police Chief Christopher Protsman is a member of the OACP. Although OACP says that they support Second Amendment rights, the organization raised concerns regarding S.B. 215’s provisions eliminating training for those permitted to carry concealed weapons, and regarding the bill’s provisions eliminating the duty of a person carrying concealed to affirmatively disclose that fact when interacting with a police officer. The Kettering Police Department says that Chief Protsman and the department share the sentiments and concerns expressed by OACP, particularly those expressed by Delaware Ohio Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski who represented OACP at the December 14, 2021, Senate Veterans and Public Safety Committee hearing.

The Ohio House previously passed a similar measure, H.B. 227. H.B. 227 was voted through the House Government Oversight Committee on an 8-5 vote on November 1, 2021. The full House then approved H.B. 227 on November 17, 2021, on a 60-32 vote. All the Yes votes in the Government Oversight Committee and on the House floor were cast by Republicans. In addition, all No votes were cast by Democrats. Kettering Representative Andrea White did not co-sponsor H.B. 227, but she did vote in favor of the measure.

Although H.B. 227 and S.B. 215 are very similar, the bills have enough differences that the two houses will have to reconcile the differences before the legislation can be sent to Governor Mike Dewine for consideration. You can read the current version of H.B. 227 at

Although it is currently unclear how Dewine will handle S.B. 215 or H.B. 227, he has previously supported gun rights including signing into law a controversial measure eliminating the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.

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