COLUMBUS —House Democrat leaders, led by Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington), sent a letter Tuesday to Gov. DeWine urging his veto of Senate Bill (SB) 215, extreme permitless concealed carry legislation that puts Ohioans and law enforcement in danger. If enacted, SB 215 would allow any Ohioan, aged 21 years or older, to carry a concealed handgun without a permit and without any training, provided they are not otherwise prohibited under state or federal law. Additionally, this bill would modify “duty to notify” requirements and reduce the penalty for failure to notify to a misdemeanor with no accompanying license suspension.
“By removing these responsible and reasonable precautions, this dangerous legislation compromises the safety and security of our communities and law enforcement while catering to extreme voices under the cover of constitutionality,” wrote Democrats. “As a former State Attorney General and prosecutor, you understand, better than most, the potential impact enactment of this bill will have on the safety of our citizens and law enforcement personnel. We should not disrespect the survivors and casualties of Dayton and countless other communities by making SB 215 law.”
In 2020, over 2,000 concealed carry licenses were revoked, and 1,777 licenses were denied by sheriff’s offices across Ohio. Attorney General Yost’s 2021 Statistics on Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) in Ohio, released the morning of the House floor vote of SB 215, revealed 420 CHLs revoked for cause, such as a felony conviction or an adjudication as mentally incompetent. There were another 1,880 CHLs suspended, for a total of 2,300 revocations and suspensions in 2021. Another 2,668 applicants were denied CHLs because they did not meet statutory requirements. That’s a total of 4,968 people who were without a CHL in Ohio in 2021 because they were not fit to have one.
Opponents of SB 215 include law enforcement, notably the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, gun safety advocates and civil rights groups. Democrats introduced several commonsense gun safety measures to SB 215 during House session on March 2, but all were rejected by Republicans.