by J.D. Davidson
A bill in the Ohio House that would make a concealed weapons permit optional and end the responsibility to promptly notify police officers a person is carrying a concealed weapon now has companion legislation in the Ohio Senate.
Sen. Terry Johnson, R-Scioto County, filed the bill earlier this month that goes along with House Bill 89, which made it out of committee earlier this year but has not been passed by the House. The same legislation passed the House last year but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
The bill has passed the State and Local Government Committee on a party-line vote this year with all nine Republicans supporting the measure, despite opposition testimony from the Ohio State Patrol, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wayne County, said the state’s current law is unclear and its penalties are too harsh.
“This legislation seeks to protect the rights of our [concealed handgun license] holders within Wayne County and throughout Ohio,” Wiggam said. “I have introduced the Duty to Notify bill in the House in the past, and I’m hoping to get it over the finish line during the 134th General Assembly.”
Wiggam said Ohio’s notification laws carry some of the harshest penalties in the nation. Ohio’s more than 673,000 concealed handgun license holders must “promptly” notify law enforcement they are carrying a handgun.
The language causes confusion based on various interpretations, Wiggam said. If passed and signed into law, Wiggam’s bill says officers must be told of a handgun only if they ask.
The bill also takes away reasons, according to Wiggam, to unnecessarily charge residents. Currently, if someone does not “promptly” notify the officer, an additional charge can be added. Ohio is one of nine states with a duty to notify law.
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An Ohio native and regular contributor to The Center Square, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.