AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When states move toward a permitless carry scheme, there’s usually a progression. From may issue to shall issue, from requiring training to not requiring it anymore. Little steps along the way eventually make constitutional carry seem an almost obvious next step.

Ohio currently requires training, yet a legislative committee in the state House just advanced a constitutional carry bill, thus going against the mold.

After a one-week detour, a bill that would allow Ohioans to carry a concealed gun without a permit has advanced in the Ohio House.

A House committee on Wednesday voted mostly along party lines to refer for passage House Bill 178, which would allow anyone 21 and older to carry any concealed deadly weapon as long as they’re not legally barred from owning a gun.

The bill is now expected to head to a different committee for further review, something that’s unlikely to happen before the legislature breaks for its summer recess.

Ohio’s existing concealed-carry system, under which one can only conceal handguns, and only after going through a permitting process that involves mandatory training and a background check, has been in place since 2004, signed into law by then-Gov. Bob Taft following a years-long lobbying campaign by the National Rifle Association. That bill was backed by House Speaker Larry Householder, who also leads the House today.

Now, this doesn’t mean Ohio is getting constitutional carry. Not necessarily, anyway. What it does mean is that one more hurdle for such a bill to pass has been cleared.

While there’s a usual progression toward constitutional carry, there’s no reason the system can’t be completely revamped like this. No reason at all. Incremental change is usually an easier sell to make, but if they can make a jump like this then more power to them.

Several states have permitless carry and have had no issues with it. Others may still require permits, but getting one is little more than a formality, and there’s been no issue there either.

There’s no reason to require law-abiding citizens to jump through hoops like this.

Criminals, on the other hand, aren’t going to jump through them. They’ll carry regardless of what the law says. I mean, they’re criminals. That’s their schtick, right?

My sincere hope is that Ohio doesn’t drag its feet on this measure. I hope it puts it to a vote and passes it. The only people who will truly benefit from it are the law-abiding citizens who are our best line of defense against all manner of criminals. They’ll be free to carry their guns without approaching the government with hat in hand, asking, “Mother, may I?”

Instead, they can carry as they see fit, the way free men and women should have always been permitted to carry weapons. All they need is for lawmakers in Ohio to not mess around and vote for the damn bill and then get out of their damn way.