What Will DeWine Do With Constitutional Carry?

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The state of Ohio is weird when it comes to guns. They’ve got a Republican governor who has been pushing for gun control for quite some time now, but a Republican legislature that has no interest in appeasing him. In fact, they almost seem to be antagonizing him by pushing pro-gun legislation forward.

Enter permitless carry.

Previously, the House passed this important measure, but that left it in the hands of the Senate.

As Cam reported earlier today, they just passed it too. So here’s where things stand at the moment.

The Ohio Senate passed legislation Wednesday that will allow any Ohioans 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon, so long as they’re allowed to possess it under state and federal law.

Currently, Ohioans must pass a background check and demonstrate proof of eight hours of training to obtain a concealed carry license. Senate Bill 215 nixes these guardrails, along with a requirement that armed people “promptly” inform police officers that they’re carrying a concealed weapon during a stop.

All Senate Republicans, minus Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, voted for the legislation. Democrats opposed the bill.

Both the House and Senate have now passed separate but similar versions of “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” legislation, as it’s commonly known. Lawmakers will have to agree on a final version to send to Gov. Mike DeWine.

A DeWine spokesman said Wednesday the governor is reviewing the bill and noted he has “long supported the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”

In other words, DeWine isn’t going to dismiss signing it out of hand.

Frankly, I think he’ll ultimately sign it. While I oppose his STRONG Ohio bill, it’s not the most horrendous bit of gun control I’ve ever seen. I mean, the most impressive thing about it is how it manages to give everyone something to oppose it in, including gun control advocates who think it’s too lukewarm.

Permitless carry in Ohio would be a huge win for gun rights supporters, especially when it seemed the state was headed for gun control after the Dayton shooting. It just seemed like that’s the kind of thing that was going to happen.

It didn’t.

Now, it looks like common sense is reigning supreme there in Ohio and they may soon end up with permitless carry. I’m more than a little impressed, to be honest.

Of course, it’s not a done deal. The House and the Senate have to sit down and hash out a version that they can forward to the governor. Whether or not that’s a simple matter remains to be seen. However, since both are essentially the same things, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Once that happens, the onus is then on DeWine to sign the bill. While I suspect he’ll sign, I also think he’ll do so reluctantly.

For the people of Ohio, I doubt that will matter. They’ll have not just the right, but the ability to carry a gun whenever they wish so long as they can lawfully own a firearm. While some won’t like it, they won’t like anything that doesn’t restrict our rights. I can learn to live with their disappointment.