Lawful gun owners with concealed carry permits will now be able to carry guns onto buses in Dayton, Ohio.
“It isn’t the wishes of the board on its own to make this change,” board member Franz Hoge said.
The new rules stipulate that all individuals holding valid concealed carry permits can carry firearms in public areas on RTA property, such as buses and platforms. Lawful gun owners can openly carry on platforms but will have to show valid concealed carry permits to carry guns onto buses.
The change came after gun rights groups protested the RTA’s ban on guns, arguing it violated Ohio laws regarding local regulations on firearms.
“It’s high time that happened,” said Doug Deeken, a director of Ohioans for Concealed Carry. “They were in violation of state laws.”
“There’s no reason, just because you choose public transportation, that you give up your right to defend yourself,” Deeken continued. “That’s inherently wrong and discriminatory.”
The Buckeye Firearms Association also cheered the decision, echoing Deeken’s argument that the Dayton RTA had been in violation of the law.
RTA CEO Mark Donaghy noted guns will still be banned from RTA’s building, as government buildings can still prohibit firearms under state law. Donaghy also noted the RTA would prefer to have all their properties completely free of firearms.
“Our highest priority is the safety of our customers and employees,” he said. “But at this point, given the change in the law, that’s not possible.”
Some groups, such as the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, also voiced concerns, due to the fact that Dayton Public Schools are considering using RTA buses to transport students.