Despite objections from law enforcement, an Ohio State Senate committee pushed forward yesterday the latest bill to weaken gun-carrying restrictions, reports the Columbus Dispatch. House Bill 495 essentially would treat concealed-carry licenses like drivers' licenses — if you have one in another state, it would be recognized in Ohio. In addition, the bill would allow people without concealed-carry licenses to now carry loaded ammunition clips in their vehicles, so long as they are stored in a compartment separate from the unloaded gun. It also would allow people to bring their guns to the Statehouse or the Riffe Center parking garages on Capitol Square, as long as the guns remain in their vehicles.
The bill, pushed by the National Rifle Association and other Ohio pro-gun groups, also says that a concealed-carry licensee no longer has to demonstrate competency when renewing the license. John Hohenwarter, NRA state liaison, called it a “common sense” bill that “makes the lawful use of a firearm more user-friendly.” The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio oppose the bill. Mike Weinman, director of government affairs for the FOP of Ohio, said automatic reciprocity circumvents Ohio's training standards, which include at least 10 hours of class time and two hours of range time. He said he also doesn't know how thorough the background checks are in other states. “We don't want untrained people in our bars and strip clubs engaging in firefights in crowded rooms without any type of training,” he said.