A bill on the way to the governor’s desk would make sweeping changes to Ohio gun laws.
The legislature passed House Bill 234 by a wide margin this week. It would make it easier for most Ohioans to obtain concealed weapons licenses.
The bill reduces the minimum number of training hours from 12 to 8 and allows people to take courses online.
It also allows reciprocity, meaning some out-of-state licenses would be valid in Ohio, and vice versa, and the bill would eliminate a 45-day residency requirement for licenses.
Gun rights groups call it a victory for second amendment rights, saying the bill aligns Ohio with other states and improves background checks.
“It restores rights that we’ve lost and it aligns it and makes it work better,” said Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Association. “This is really good public policy. Currently, Ohio will issue concealed handgun licenses to people prohibited from owning guns. That’s bad policy.”
Not everyone supports the bill. Concealed carry instructor Kim Rodecker says he’s concerned about changes in training.
“It could lead to people being shot needlessly,” Rodecker said. “In my opinion, it’s a public safety issue. You can’t let people run out there with guns that don’t know what they’re doing.”
The bill began as a measure to allow hunters to use noise suppressors and was combined with other legislation. If signed into law by Governor John Kasich, it would take effect in 90 days.