When Does Constitutional Carry Go into Effect in Ohio?
The answer might not be what you’re expecting!
We’ve been getting asked this a lot lately. There is a lot of confusion out there.
Constitutional Carry has been proposed many times in Ohio. None of those attempts have ever made it all the way to becoming law. The current attempt is HB 227. It seems like it has a stronger chance this time around, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. Nobody knows for sure what will happen.
What is Constitutional Carry?
Many states have been adopting laws that take away the need to get a license/permit in order to conceal carry. It embraces the concept that we have the constitutional right to bear arms without the need of a license.
There are arguments both ways and obviously many different opinions on the matter.
There are now 21 states that have Constitutional Carry in place. You can see a color coded map here from the USCCA if you are wondering which states those are.
This image is from the USCCA’s website showing with colors if the state requires a concealed carry permit or not.
Here is the list of the constitutional carry or permitless carry states as of November 19, 2021.
(Most states that have enacted Constitutional Carry over the past few years, have kept their license pathway in place. I’ll address that concept in a bit!)
Everyone is Saying Constitutional Carry Passed
I bet you’ve even seen some news stories that make it sound like Constitutional Carry already passed in Ohio. For example, look at these two.
Notice the wording in those headlines. They choose to use affirmative language that makes it sound like its already happening. Their language should be more conditional since there are still more steps that must be achieved for this bill to becomes law.
There would be less confusion if they added “that would”.
- Ohio House passes bill allowing concealed carry without permit
- Ohio House passes bill that would allow concealed carry without a permit.
Same is true for the second headline. The headline would be less misleading if the verb was modified with would.
- Ohio House GOP passes bill removing training, background checks for concealed guns
- Ohio House GOP passes bill that would remove training, background checks for concealed guns
People are busy and distracted. They read headlines quickly. They often just see what they want to see.
So the first problem is the headlines are misleading people into believing it is already law.
The second problem is that the people who misunderstand those headlines spread the misunderstanding by making posts on social media. I bet that your social newsfeed is full of posts like “Ohio passed concealed carry without a license!”.
I’m concerned that some people seeing these headlines and posts might start carrying a loaded gun even if they don’t have the license. Yikes! (So share this page to save your friends from making that mistake!)
But HB 227 Passed
And here in lies the next problem. Most people don’t understand the Ohio legislative process. Passing the House doesn’t mean it is now law.
HB 227 passed the House. (It passed the House on 11/17/21 with 60 yeas and 32 nays – breakdown of votes.) When people see that it passed the House, all they see is the word “passed“.
Passing the House is a checkpoint on the bill’s journey to becoming law. It made it out of committee and then it passed the House. This is a great start. But it still needs to pass the Senate and then get signed by the Governor.
How Bills Become Laws in Ohio
Here is a quick recap of how bills become laws in Ohio.
Ohio’s state legislative branch is made up of two houses: the House of Representatives (comprised of 99 members) and the Senate (comprised of 33 members). “The General Assembly” is a term used when referring to both of these chambers together.
A “bill” is a proposed new law or proposed change to an existing law. Some bills start in the Senate. They start with SB. Other bills start in the House of Representatives. They start with HB.
The bills go to committee first. Sometimes you’ll hear about something “passing committee”. This just means that committee determined it was a bill that should be put to a floor vote; it does not mean that it passed that legislative house. Think of the committee process as a vetting and researching process.
Next it will go to the main floor for a vote in the house where it started. If it passes that house, its next stop is the other house. But before that house can vote on it, it will have to start in a committee. Then if they choose, that committee can introduce it to their house for a vote.
Bills must pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives with a majority vote in order to continue on the path to becoming law. Sometimes it is a pretty straight forward linear process where it passes one house and then passes the other house. Other times it is a more circular process where the other house approves it with amendments. In these cases it has to go back to the first house for concurrence on those amendments.
Once the bill has approval in both houses, it is an “act”. Acts are presented to the Governor for the last step in the approval process. There are three possible outcomes.
- The Governor signs it and it becomes law.
- The Governor vetoes it.
- The Governor does not sign or veto within 10 days. In this case, the act becomes law without the Governor’s signature.
If the Governor vetoes the act, there is still a chance for the act to become law. The act would be returned to both houses where they could override the veto with a 3/5 majority vote from each house.
There is a 90 day wait period before the law goes into effect. So it is not an instant change.
That is the nutshell version. A bill becomes an act. An act becomes a law. 90 days later the law goes into effect. There are spots along the way where bills or acts can die. (You can see more details in an easy to follow graphic chart.)
What is next for HB 227?
HB 227 passed committee. Then it passed the House of Representatives. It is now on it’s way to the Senate. (Have you told your Senator how you want them to vote? See below on how to do that!)
The bill will start in a Senate committee. The committee can amend it, kill it, or pass it to the full Senate to be heard. Then the Senate may pass HB 227 as is. Or they may pass it with amendments. Or they may just kill it altogether. If the Senate passes the bill with amendments, it would have to go back to the House of Representatives.
How Long Will This Process Take?
It is possible the Senate will act quickly with the currently proposed HB 227 for Constitutional Carry. It is also possible that the Senate will sit on it.
Let’s look at the timelines for two big “gun law” changes that happened in the past few years as examples of what sort of timeframe is normal.
Ohio General Assembly Cycles
First, it is important to realize how the cycle works. The Ohio General Assembly works on 2 year cycles. You’ll see a huge rush of things passing at the end of even years. Notice that both of these examples went through at the buzzer on even years. Will we have to wait until the buzzer of 2022 to know if Constitutional Carry is going to pass?
“Duty to Retreat” Law Change Timeline
SB175 was a bill proposed in the 2019-2020 General Assembly to get rid of “duty to retreat” in Ohio. If passed, Ohio would become a “Stand Your Ground” state. You can see from the timeline of SB175 that it was introduced in the Senate on 7/11/19. It passed the Senate 5 months later on 12/11/19.
It wasn’t introduced in the House until 5/5/20 – nearly 5 months after it passed the Senate. The House took its time. It finally passed the House with amendments on 12/17/20. With the buzzer running out, the Senate concurred with the amendments the next day. SB175 was now an act and ready to be presented to the Governor.
There was alot of speculation as to whether Governor Dewine would sign it or not. He did in fact sign it in early January. It became effective 90 days later on April 6, 2021.
It took about 1 year and 9 months for this to go from an introduced bill to being in effect.
“Burden Of Proof” Law Change Timeline
Let’s consider another example. There was a big deal law change for concealed carriers a few years ago regarding burden of proof in self defense cases. It was proposed as HB 228 during the 2017-2018 General Assembly. Let’s look at the timeline of HB228.
HB228 was first introduced on 5/16/17. It didn’t pass the house until November 14, 2018- a year and a half later! It passed the Senate with amendments about a month later on 12/6/18. Being December of an even year, the buzzer was quickly approaching. The House concurred with the amendments the same day.
John Kasich was the Governor at the time. He vetoed the bill! It went back to the House who overrode the veto with a 3/5 vote on 12/27/18. The Senate also overrode the veto with a 3/5 vote on the same day. The law went into effect 90 days later on 3/28/19.
It took 1 year and 10 months for this to go from an introduced bill to being in effect.
Should I Wait to See if HB 227 passes Before I Take Training?
Well that is certainly up to you. It’s an individual question.
I take my personal safety and the safety of my family seriously. I don’t leave home without my gun on a daily basis. My self defense tools are a part of my lifestyle. My safety is important to me today. And the next day. And the day after that. I wouldn’t wait months for Constitutional Carry to maybe go into effect. I would want to get protected now.
Also, even if it passes, I would still want to have a license!! Confused? I’ll explain.
Even if HB 227 Passes, I Still Want a License
HB 227 does not dismantle the licensure process. The Ohio Concealed Carry License will still exist, the same as it does today. It just becomes optional.
That might sound confusing. You might be thinking, who in their right mind would pay to get a license if they don’t have to.
I travel 2 to 3 times a year. I consider myself to be more vulnerable while traveling than I am in my day to day life at home. Rest stops. Gas stations. Being in unfamiliar areas. The potential to be stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. You are in more transitional spaces while traveling just based on the nature of traveling.
I always take my concealed carry tools with me when traveling. I do research ahead of time so I know the reciprocity agreements and the laws in the places I will be. Having an Ohio Concealed Carry license is going to allow me to carry in more states than if I don’t have a license.
Other states will honor my Ohio license. If I don’t have the license, other states don’t honor the fact that my home state allows Constitutional Carry. So I would be far more limited in which states I could carry in.
If I’m going to other states that also have Constitutional Carry then I might be able to still carry there (depending on the laws there). But most of the states I go to do not have Constitutional Carry. Without the license, I would not be able to carry if visiting the Carolinas. Or Pennsylvania. Or Florida. And many other states. But with the license, I could carry in those places.
So that’s the biggest advantage- reciprocity! It might seem like a small benefit at first. But to me it’s huge. I don’t travel to places I can’t carry my gun.
It can take a couple of months to get a license. You have to find a training class that fits your schedule, take the class, get an appointment with the sheriff, submit your materials and then wait for them to process it (they can take up to 45 days to process according to the law). You don’t want to wait until you need it and then have to cross your fingers hoping your license is ready in time before you leave for your trip. Just like getting your passport before your trip, you’ll want your concealed carry license ready before you need to travel.
Want to Know More Detail on State Gun and Self-Defense Laws?
This is an awesome free resource from the USCCA. They break down each state and give the full details of the laws. It is easy to use and easy to understand. The best part is that it is absolutely FREE! Just enter your email address and they will send it right over.
How Can I Get an Ohio Concealed Carry License?
To get the Ohio concealed carry license (CCW, CHL), Ohio requires 8 hours of training. This training is broken up into 6 hours of classroom and 2 hours on a live fire range.
Is all training equal? Absolutely not. If you wanted to get a burger, there are many restaurants that offer burgers. But we can easily argue that some make them better than others. Ohio’s law is pretty loose in the requirements, so there are many differences in what training instructors offer.
Armed2Defend is Ohio’s premier concealed carry trainer. We’ve earned almost 1000 5-star reviews on Google and over 400 on Facebook.
Want more information on how to get the CCW license, click here to see the beginner’s guide to concealed carry.
HB 227 Includes More Than Just Constitutional Carry
The buzz surrounding HB 227 is focused on the Constitutional Carry aspect. Like most bills, there is more than just permitless carry included. In fact, the bill is 94 pages long! (The format of these bills can be confusing. But you can see the version as passed by the House here if you like reading the source.)
HB 227 also changes the “duty to inform” aspect of the concealed carry laws in Ohio. Currently, concealed carriers have an obligation to “promptly inform” law enforcement that they are carrying.
Getting pulled over and other law enforcement encounters are stressful times. Having to be sure you remember, under stress, to give this notice is a burden.
Ohio is only one of 9 states that puts the burden of “duty to inform” on the concealed carrier. HB 227 relieves this burden by making it that you only have to inform if asked.
Law enforcement encounters bring with them a lot of stress. Removing this burden is a big deal.
Make Your Voice Heard
Does the idea of Constitutional Carry excite you? Does it frighten you?
Whether you are in favor of the bill or opposed to the bill, the important thing is to make your voice heard.
Your state Senate representative will be voting on HB 227 soon. This elected official represents YOU. Have you let them know how you want them to vote?
We are getting calls everyday of people voicing their praise and/or their concerns for this proposed legislation. You don’t affect change by having discussion with people. Direct those comments to your legislators! Make sure they know how you feel.
Go to https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/district-maps Enter your address (or 9 digit zip code). Click on the picture of your state senate representative. Use the contact information to call or email them and let them know how you want them to vote.
News Stories on Constitutional Carry Ohio HB 227:
Ohio: House Passes Constitutional Carry – NRA-ILA, November 17, 2021 – https://www.nraila.org/articles/20211117/ohio-house-passes-constitutional-carry
Concealed carry, guns in schools: Two major gun bills win approval in Ohio House – The Columbus Dispatch, November 16, 2021 – https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/2021/11/17/ohio-moves-lower-requirements-armed-teachers-concealed-carry/8638715002/
Bill to remove concealed carry licenses in Ohio passed by House – ABC 6, November 17, 2021 – https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/bill-to-remove-concealed-carry-licenses-in-ohio-passed-by-house
House Passes HB 227 to Bring Constitutional Carry to Ohio – Buckeye Firearms Association, November 17, 2021 – https://www.buckeyefirearms.org/house-passes-hb-227-bring-constitutional-carry-ohio