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For months, Ohio Senate Bill 17 has been known as the “restaurant carry” bill—but there’s much more to this legislation than concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. I eat in restaurants about twice a month, but I carry a pistol in my car several hours each day. When SB17 becomes law on Sept. 30, 2011, the rules governing vehicle carry will become safer, simpler, and fairer. The remainder of this short article is devoted to the details of the new vehicle carry rules under SB17.

At a recent CHL training class I conducted, students practiced proper procedure during police encounters. With the help of a police officer (the husband of a student in the class), students were challenged to role-­play a traffic stop while armed. Our guest LEO began the exercise with this statement: “Just as you practice marksmanship and handgun safety, you need to practice encounters with law enforcement. More CHL holders will end up in trouble as a result of a technicality during a routine traffic stop than because of an actual self­-defense scenario involving your handgun.”

Though I had no statistics to support or refute the officer’s statement, it struck me as wise. After all, there’s an excellent chance we might never have to draw a handgun in self­-defense, but there are always many things that can go wrong for an Ohio CHL holder during a routine traffic stop—most involving the manner in which the handgun is worn, transported, or handled. The current law is complex and cumbersome, requiring the CHL holder to be aware of an array of definitions and details. Ohio is the only state that places this burden on concealed carry licensees.

Ohio Senate Bill 17, which won’t become law until Sept. 30, 2011, eliminates a good portion of the complexity of vehicle carry, while still addressing the safety of the licensee, police officers, and the public at large. The new rules in SB17 therefore are a welcome upgrade to the state’s firearms laws.

To understand the pending changes to vehicle carry, let’s see how some key provisions of the current law will be affected by SB17:

 

CURRENT LAW                                                             WHEN SB17 BECOMES LAW


1. In a motor vehicle, a loaded handgun                  1. This rule will no longer exist. 
must be in a holster on the person’s per-­
son, OR, 

2. The loaded handgun must be in a                        2. This rule will no longer exist. 
closed case, bag, box, or other container 
that is in plain sight and that has a lid, 
a cover, or a closing mechanism with a 
zipper, snap, or buckle, which lid, cover, 
or closing mechanism must be opened 
for a person to gain access to the hand-­
gun, OR, 

3. The loaded handgun must be securely               3. This rule will no longer exist. 
encased by being stored in a closed 
glove compartment or vehicle console, 
or in a case that is locked. 

4. A CHL holder may not remove or at-­                    4. This rule will no longer exist. 
tempt to remove a loaded handgun from 
the holster, case, bag, box, container, or 
glove compartment, knowingly grasp or 
hold the loaded handgun, or knowingly 
have contact with the loaded handgun 
by touching it with the hands or fingers 
while the motor vehicle is being oper-­
ated on a street, highway, or public 
property, unless instructed otherwise by 
a law enforcement officer. 

5. If a CHL holder is the driver or occu-                    5. This rule remains the same. 
pant of a motor vehicle that is stopped 
for a law enforcement purpose, and if 
they have a loaded handgun in the vehi­-
cle, they must promptly inform the of­-
ficer that they have been issued a license 
to carry a concealed handgun, and that 
they have a loaded handgun in the vehi­-
cle. 

6. If a CHL holder is the driver or occu-­                    6. This rule remains the same. 
pant of a motor vehicle that is stopped 
for a law enforcement purpose, and if 
they have a loaded handgun in the vehi­-
cle, they must remain in the vehicle 
while stopped and keep their hands in 
plain sight, unless directed otherwise by 
a law enforcement officer. 

7. If a CHL holder is the driver or occu-­                    7. This rule remains the same. 
pant of a motor vehicle that is stopped 
for a law enforcement purpose, and if 
they have a loaded handgun in the vehi­-
cle, they may not have contact with the 
loaded handgun by touching it with the 
hands or fingers at any time, unless di­-
rected otherwise by a law enforcement 
officer. 

It is important to note that the examples above do not identify all changes under SB17, nor do they address many details in both the old and new law (for example, #6 and #7 also apply during the time a police officer approaches your vehicle). The only way to fully understand your rights and responsibilities is to read the entire law. SB17 can be downloaded here.

Also note that the rules governing the transport of unloaded firearms will not change, nor will Ohio’s peculiar definition of a “loaded firearm.”

For those who have run afoul of Ohio’s vehicle carry laws in the past, there is more good news in SB17: If the vehicle carry violation would no longer be a crime under SB17, the offender can apply for an expungement of the conviction.

Although Ohio’s firearms law still weighs in at about 43,000 words (more than the U.S. Constitution, Einstein’s complete Theory of Relativity, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth combined), SB17 goes a long way toward restoring the rights of firearms owners and removing much of the legal quicksand involved in vehicle carry. If your state representatives supported SB17, now is the time to call and say thanks.

___________________________

A pdf file of this article may be downloaded HERE.

Updates, additions, or corrections to this article can be found at http://ohioccw.org

This article may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety as long as no changes are made and the source is identified as Ohioans for Concealed Carry.

Copyright © 2011 Ohioans for Concealed Carry.





 

 

Category: Concealed Carry

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