COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio Senate passed HB 48 late Wednesday night, which allows people with concealed carry licenses to bring handguns into certain gun-free zones.
Colleges, universities, daycares and police stations are gun-free zones. The bill allows people with concealed carry licenses to leave their handguns in their vehicles in parking lots. It changes the penalty from a felony to misdemeanor if the handgun is accidentally carried on campus or in the daycare. It also leaves some discretion for campuses to decide how to enforce it.
This bill wasn’t originally supported by the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). However, the FOP said they are now neutral on the bill after an amendment was passed not allowing concealed carry weapons at police stations.
“There was the argument of if someone starts shooting there’d be a good guy there, you don’t know that,” said director of government affairs for the FOP Michael Weinman. “You see two people shooting … I’m sorry, but it’s not tattooed across your forehead, ‘I’m a CCW permit holder, I’m a good guy.’ You don’t know.”
He said before today’s amendment, the FOP was concerned about people being able to carry a weapon into a police station.
“When I explained to Rep. Maag and others, we’re looking at a 167% increase in the ambushes on police officers on just this year alone, they were very understanding,” said Weinman. “Rep. Maag even said, ‘I want to protect the people who are protecting us.’”
Opponents of the bill worry it gives children access to guns at day cares.
Supporters of the bill include groups Buckeyes for Concealed Carry and the Buckeye Firearm Association (http://nbc4i.com/2016/11/30/concealed-carry-law-could-allow-handguns-on-campus-property/). The Buckeye Firearm Association said it’s a good law that copies what has worked in other states.