New Ohio gun laws take effect March 23

DARKE COUNTY - Beginning March 23, gun owners will see a number of changes to regulations on firearms and concealed carry licensing in the Buckeye State.

Ohio House Bill 234, signed into law by Governor John Kasich Dec. 19, 2014, amends a number of the state's previously standing gun statutes.

Ohioans with a valid concealed handgun license from another state will now have that license recognized by the State of Ohio if that state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with the Ohio Attorney General. Further, if the Attorney General determines that the eligibility requirements imposed by another state are “substantially comparable” to the eligibility requirements in Ohio, the other state's license will now be recognized.

For new residents with a concealed handgun license from another state which has not entered into a reciprocity agreement, the out-of-state license will be recognized in Ohio for a period of six months after the person becomes a resident. After this six-month period, persons wishing to continue to conceal carry a handgun must apply for an Ohio license.

Non-Ohio residents with a valid concealed handgun license from another state, regardless of whether the other state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with Ohio, will have their license recognized in the state during the period that the person is temporarily in Ohio.

The new law also lessens the amount of training time needed to obtain a concealed carry license certification – from a total of 12 hours to 8 hours – and removes a provision that a would-be licensee be a resident of Ohio for at least 45 days and resident of their county for 30 days prior to applying for a license.

Ohio's definition of what constitutes an “automatic firearm” has also been revised. Prior to the change, a semi-automatic firearm “designed or specially adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other than a firearm chambering only .22 calibers short, long, or long-rifle cartridges” was considered an automatic firearm.

As a result of the old law, many retailers, both in and out of state, refused to sell to Ohioans rifle and handgun magazines with a capacity of more than 30 rounds, thereby creating a de facto “ban” on these magazines, though the law did not clearly state that 30-plus-round magazines were banned.

The revised law reads “'Automatic firearm' means any firearm designed or specially adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger.” Thus, without mention of magazine capacity, for Ohioans there are no limits on how many cartridges a magazine may hold.

Another change for Buckeye gun owners is the repeal of the law which restricted residents to purchasing long guns only in Ohio and bordering states. As of March 23, Ohioans will now be able to purchase long guns – rifles and shotguns – from a federally licensed firearms dealer in any of the 50 states. As well, residents of all other states will now be able to purchase long guns from Ohio dealers. Handgun purchases by an individual, however, are still restricted by federal law to the state in which that person resides.

For Ohio hunting enthusiasts, the new law also replaces the word “silencer” with the more technically correct term “suppressor” and allows licensed hunters to use suppressors, greatly reducing a gun's loud noise level.

A more detailed summary of the firearm-related changes taking place in Ohio beginning March 23 can be found online at