COLUMBUS -- Senate Bill 239, which clarifies how weapons must be carried in a vehicle and allows concealed weapons to be carried in restaurants that serve alcohol if the licensee is not drinking and only if permitted by the establishment, passed in the Ohio Senate on Thursday.
"SB 239 brings Ohio's concealed carry laws in line with those in many other states while reaffirming law-abiding citizens' constitutional rights to protect themselves and their families," Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said in a news release. "Since Ohio's concealed carry laws were enacted in 2004, the increase in violent crime and other criminal activity that some predicted has not come pass, and the changes we are making today will improve the law while making it easier for all concealed carry permit holders to follow."
Joining Schaffer as lead sponsor of the bill was Sen. Shannon Jones, R- Springboro.
Ohio law currently requires a weapon in a vehicle to be kept in a holster, a closed glove compartment, a locked case or in a purse or bag kept in plain sight. SB 239 removes these restrictions, but maintains existing safeguards and penalties in place to protect law enforcement, licensees and others during a traffic stop. Licensees must keep their hands in plain sight, promptly notify the officer of the presence of a firearm, not touch or handle the firearm during the stop, remain in the vehicle unless otherwise instructed and abide by the directions of the officer.
The bill also would permit a person to carry a concealed weapon into restaurants holding class D licenses, so long as the licensee is not consuming alcohol. It is important to note that individual restaurants still can decide not to permit concealed weapons on the premises and SB 239 does not change current law that prohibits a person from possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
SB 239 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.