Catherine Ubry, Senior Staff Writer

Two new House Bills involving restrictions on gun licensure have been introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives.

State Representatives Ron Maag and Andy Thompson introduced House Bill 422, which would allow citizens with gun licenses and permits to not promptly inform an approaching law enforcement officer that they are carrying a weapon or have a license for a firearm.

The Representatives felt the bill was necessary due to misinterpretation and misuse of the current notification requirements, Legislative Aid to Representative Maag Samantha Cotton said via email. “There was a recent incident in Canton where the police officer ended up being fired because the person did not ‘promptly’ notify him of his CCW (carrying a concealed weapon),” Cotton said.

Representative Maag, along with Representative Johnson, also introduced House Bill 425, which would allow for citizens to keep firearms in their cars in Ohio Building Authority parking lots such as the Statehouse.

The Representatives felt this bill was necessary in that it would allow citizens who often park in the Statehouse the right to keep their guns in their car rather than leaving them at home, according to Cotton.

“The bills make it so individuals who have a CCW license are more easily able to carry without having to worry about unintentionally committing a misdemeanor due to conflicting and confusing laws,” Cotton said.

Spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio Mike Weinman strongly disagreed with the bills.

“We’re obviously going to be opposed to 422, it is quite remarkable that the lobby would push for something like this … what happens if I approach someone suspicious?” Weinman said. “They could be a permit owner and not notify me and things could escalate.”

Weinman said the issues regarding firearms in cars could be problematic. “There are hundreds of permits that are suspended and revoked every year so this concerns us greatly with regards to Statehouse parking garages, which could turn into a slippery slope,” Weinman said. “If people can get it into the garage, then it could be the building, then soon it could be a building for Police Headquarters or Sheriffs; we don’t need weapons in government buildings.” The Supreme Court says citizens can defend themselves in their homes but the state has the right to put restrictions on everywhere else, according to Weinman. “We’re also not required to keep hands in plain sight anymore … these bills are just becoming very far reaching,” Weinman said.

Buckeye Firearms Southwest Ohio Chair Joe Eaton views the proposed bills differently. “Both of the bills are going to have my support personally as they will go a long way into cleaning up Ohio’s laws,” Eaton said. “Right now, criminals are being made out of law abiding people and these bills will help areas that have been tripping up license permit carriers in Ohio. It’s a good promotion of the 2nd Amendment, giving people back more freedoms and removing unneeded criminal charges.”

Oxford Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jon Varley does not think the bills are necessary.

“The people who abide by the law in the first place aren’t the problem, and it’s just restricting lawful gun owners in the first place,” Varley said. “As for Oxford, we generally don’t have problems with firearms, usually if there are issues, they are brought from outside elements.”

There are currently 353 permits listed in the 45056 district, including Oxford, according to Butler County Sherriff’s Office Deputy J.D. Smith.

“I can only speak for myself but I am very much in favor of the act. I am in favor of both bills under review,” Miami University senior Julien Counts of the Miami University Pistol Club said.