Ohio constitutional carry bill advances

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When this year first started, I didn’t think we’d see significant movement on constitutional carry from the state of Ohio. After all, Gov. Mike DeWine isn’t exactly the most pro-gun Republican in public office these days. He’s been pushing his own anti-gun agenda, though one that doesn’t go nearly as far as anti-gunners would like.

So no, I didn’t expect much out of an Ohio constitutional carry push.

Yet, it seems I was mistaken.

The state House is teeing up a final passage vote on legislation to remove training and background check requirements to carry a concealed firearm in Ohio.

Meanwhile, lawmakers inched forward on a bill to relax penalties for people carrying concealed weapons in prohibited places, and another restricting how local police can limit firearms sales or transportations during a “riot.”

On Tuesday, the House Government Oversight Committee reviewed Senate Bill 215, which would allow anyone 21 and up to carry without a permit so long as they lawfully possess the gun in question. Current law requires Ohioans to undergo eight hours of training and a background check to obtain a CCW permit.

Republicans in the House passed a near identical bill last year, rendering passage more likely than not. The committee passed it in an 8-5 party line vote. The full House passed it in a 60-32 party line vote. It’s up for another hearing Wednesday.

Should the House pass the legislation again (they passed the same language contained in a different bill last year), it would go to the desk of GOP Gov. Mike DeWine. The governor has declined to take a position on the bill in public statements but told the Buckeye Firearms Association in writing during the 2018 primary that he would support a constitutional carry bill.

Whether DeWine supports this constitutional carry bill or not remains to be seen. If you haven’t been able to tell I’m less than trusting when it comes to DeWine, well, I’m not. He was way too quick to push for gun control after the shooting in Dayton for my comfort.

But, he’s also a far cry from being Phil Murphy of New Jersey.

If DeWine says he’ll back a constitutional carry bill and doesn’t, then he might as well not even bother running for reelection. There’s zero reason for any pro-gun voter to trust him to keep his word.

However, even those who don’t see guns as the key issue should look at DeWine skeptically if that happens. After all, what else will he say he’ll sign, only to change his mind when it comes across his desk.

I’d like to take DeWine’s word for it. I truly would.

And while he’s pushed for his gun control bill, he hasn’t lied about supporting any legislation only to veto it so far as I’m aware. If DeWine signs the bill–assuming it passes, of course–then I’ll be happy to be wrong about the man.

Then again, if not, it’ll be interesting to know who the next governor of Ohio will be and how much of a landslide they’ll win by in 2022.