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Recently Passed Bill Expands Locations Concealed Handguns Are Allowed

On June 15th of this year, the Ohio Senate and Ohio House approved Amendments to Senate Bill 17, which allows persons with permits to carry handguns to do so in Class D liquor permit premises, such as restaurants and bars. The bill is now up for Governor Kasich’s signature. Many expect Kasich to sign the bill, as he has been quoted as saying, "I'm for the Second Amendment."

The law will allow people who have concealed carry permits to bring guns into bars, restaurants, stadiums, carry outs, nightclubs, clubs, hotels, shopping malls and other establishments that serve beer, wine and liquor.

The bill, however, prohibits the individual from consuming liquor or being under the influence of alcohol while in possession of the concealed handgun and on the premises of a permitted establishment. Any violation is a fifth-degree felony with the penalty being up to a year in prison and $2,500 fine.

The bill has been widely opposed by law enforcement, prosecutors, restaurant owners and many public officials.

Many have expressed concern that there is no way for an owner of a permitted establishment to verify whether the person being served alcohol has a handgun or a valid concealed carry permit. They argue that if the law is passed it will be difficult for owners to enforce.

As it now stands, the bill allows establishments to post a proper notice prohibiting guns on the premises.

Taking it one step further, a newly introduced proposal, House Bill 256, aims to eliminate the need for concealed carry permits and authorizes anyone who "qualifies for a permit," but does not have one, to carry a concealed handgun. It would also permit firearms in colleges, churches, child-care centers and government buildings.

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