Senate introduces concealed carry bill 239

Laws regarding where firearms can be carried could become more lenient.

According to the Buckeye Firearm Association’s Web site, a new bill was introduced this week, Senate bill 239, which would allow citizens who hold a concealed handgun license to carry a firearm in restaurants. The bill would also lessen restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a vehicle.

Currently, it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun into a restaurant. The existing law requires weapons to be either in a holster, closed glove compartment, locked case or in plain sight in a secured rack or holder made for that purpose.

Including all the states that border Ohio, 42 states allow non-drinking license holders to carry firearms in restaurants, according to opencarry.org.

Buckeye Firearm Association Chairman Jim Irvine said he supports Senate bill 239, and believes it will benefit all those who have concealed carry licenses.

“Ohio currently has more strenuous laws than those involving concealed handguns in, say, Michigan,” he said. “Especially for out of state and elderly people, they don’t understand the way that we are supposed to carry handguns in Ohio.”

Irvine said it would be the licensed owner’s obligation to not consume alcohol while carrying a concealed handgun in a restaurant.

“If there were a problem with people bringing handguns into restaurants while consuming alcohol, then the story would be different, but it hasn’t been a problem,” he said. “This is why I think we continue working toward this bill and do what the other 42 out of 48 open-carry states are doing.”

However, according to a report last Tuesday on the Firearm Association’s Web site, Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Violence, called lifting the restriction on concealed weapons in restaurants with alcohol “a little bit ridiculous.”

“This is not what people want,” Hoover said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with gun owners. It has to do with common sense.”