Ohio lawmakers approve bill to lessen concealed carry notification penalties

Ohio lawmakers have advanced a bill that would lessen penalties imposed on concealed carry permit holders who do not notify law enforcement officers that they are carrying when lawfully detained.

The proposal, House Bill 142, passed out of the House Federalism and Interstate Regulations Committee last week on a 9-2 vote and now heads to the House floor for a full vote, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The measure would reduce penalties on permit holders who do not notify police officers when they are packing from a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine to just a $25 fine.

Despite the drastic penalty reduction, some gun-rights advocates grew annoyed when the bill was watered down from a previous version that would have done away with the penalties altogether.

“Who is this committee trying to placate?” asked Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners. He added that the watered down version would only satisfy those who do not have “full restoration of gun-owners’ rights at heart.”

Gary Witt, director of Ohio Concealed Carry, argued that police groups were making false claims when they suggested permit holders were endangering lives when not reporting firearms during traffic stops and detentions.

While Dorr and Witt said the groups they represent were opposed to anything but a full repeal, the Buckeye Firearms Association supported the proposal, and Republican Rep. John Becker argued the bill was much more than a measly compromise.

“This legislation is way more than half a loaf,” Becker said. “It’s everything but the last slice.”