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Government & Politics

Ohio Lawmakers Look to Loosen Concealed Carry Bans

photo of concealed carry

A bill that allows people to carry guns into more areas such as day cares and college campuses is moving through the legislature as the current session draws to a close.

There’s a list of places that where people are automatically banned from carrying concealed weapons. That includes day cares, airport terminals and government buildings. But a bill moving closer to becoming a law would cross those three places off the list, with some exceptions.

That bill would also lift the concealed carry ban on college campuses, allowing boards of trustees to make that decision. Republican Sen. Bill Coley of Cincinnati says this kind of local control is important to have for schools in smaller towns.

“When you get into rural Ohio, law enforcement can be at least 15 minutes away and someone with a weapon can wreak a lot of havoc on unarmed people.”

But there’s strong disagreement with the assertion in Coley’s scenario that allowing people on campus to be armed would help.

Opposition to the bill
Barbara Doll is part of the group Ohio Mom's Demand Action, which calls for the exact opposite of this bill. They want to keep guns out of what they call “sensitive areas”, which include day cares and college campuses. “It’s a myth to think that someone who has concealed carry would take down that attacker.”

Doll says her group isn’t for gun control but what she calls strong regulation that includes universal background checks and training.

The legislation under consideration would also downgrade the penalty for someone who illegally carries a concealed weapon onto a college campus. The violation is currently a first degree misdemeanor but the bill would drop it to a minor misdemeanor as long as the offender has a concealed carry license.

The bill seemed to be going nowhere after it passed the Ohio House a year ago. However, it started to pick up momentum last week with rumbles of it possibly moving through the Senate. 

Editor's note: the name of Doll's group was misidentified in the original version of this story.