The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police has come out opposed to the changes Senate Bill 239 would enact, such as removing restrictions currently in place for transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle if you have a concealed handgun license and removing the blanket ban on carrying in an establishment that serves liquor even if you're not drinking.
"I am kind appalled that they keep coming back and back to these issues that have already been heavily discussed," said Mark Drum of the FOP. "It just comes down to the fact that these are absolutely huge safety issues for law enforcement everywhere."
Under current Ohio law, transporting a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle is only allowed if you have a concealed handgun license and...
- The loaded handgun is in a holster secured on the person.
- The loaded handgun is in a closed case, bag, box, or other container that is in plain sight and that has a lid, a cover, or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap, or buckle, which lid, cover or closing mechanism must be opened for a person to gain access to the handgun, or
- The loaded handgun is securely encased by being stored in a closed, glove compartment or console, or in a case that is locked.
Many people choose to carry a small handgun in a coat pocket, for example. That is perfectly legal until you get into a car, then it is a felony. A woman can carry a handgun in her purse with no problem, but if she sets her purse on the floor and tosses her coat over it she's committing a felony because the purse isn't in plain sight. How does any of that make things safer for law enforcement?
The arguments against Restaurant Carry are absurd. Every state surrounding Ohio allows it, as does approximately 40 states altogether. It is more of a hazard to law enforcement that a concealed handgun licensee is required to leave his or her firearm in the car when they go into a nice restaurant to eat where it is vulnerable to theft.
"The decision six years ago to allow law-abiding Ohioans to carry concealed weapons has not turned our state into the Wild West," said Shannon Jones, one of the sponsors of the bill. "We have not experienced the predictions of lawlessness that some claimed would come true."
Every other dire prediction about Ohio's concealed carry laws has not come true. The "concerns" about this bill will not come to pass either if the bill is enacted. Concealed handgun licensees are not the problem and are not the ones who pose a threat to law enforcement. They should have these cumbersome restrictions removed to put an end to accidental felonies being committed due to a technical violation of a confusing law.