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Ohio gun law that takes effect today continues state loosening of gun restrictions

Published: Saturday, March 11, 2017 @ 8:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 @ 2:32 PM

The state of Ohio’s newest gun law takes effect Tuesday, March 21. 

Known as Senate Bill 199, the law overrules private business owners’ ability to ban guns on their property as long as person is a CCW license holder and locks the weapon — handguns only in this case — in his or her personal vehicle.

RELATED: 9 Workplace shooting incidents in Ohio and the U.S.

The law does not set requirements for how the weapon is stored except that the vehicle must be locked.

Since state lawmakers first made it legal to carry concealed weapons in 2004, the law has repeatedly been broadened in Ohio, with a number of changes made just in the last couple of years.

In 2006, local governments were banned from enacting laws regulating firearms or ammunition.

In 2008, the so-called “castle doctrine” law was approved, presuming that a person using lethal force against someone unlawfully entering their home or vehicle is acting in self-defense.

RELATED: Charges in homicide case make hinge on self-defense law

Members of the armed services or National Guard who are between the ages of 18 and 21 were allowed to purchase or possess handguns as long as they had handgun training beginning in 2009.

And the years 2011 and 2012 saw multiple changes. Those with concealed-carry weapons licenses (CCW) were permitted to bring handguns into bars and restaurants as long as the person with the gun doesn’t drink alcohol. They were allowed to keep loaded handguns in cars without the gun being in a holster, case or locked container. Restrictions were lifted on the purchase and possession of firearms by people with certain criminal convictions. CCW reciprocity was expanded with other states. And firearms were allowed in a locked vehicle at the State Underground Parking Garage at the State Capitol or the Riffe Center for Government and the Arts in Columbus.

RELATED: Guns at work: New law allows handguns on private property

In 2014, the used of sound suppressors — commonly known as silencers — were approved for hunting. Also, the number of hours of training required to obtain a CCW license was reduced from 12 hours to eight.

The newest law

SB 199 also provides immunity to the business or property owner and the employer in any lawsuit filed for injury or death caused by a person who stores a firearm or ammunition in a personal vehicle unless the “business or person intentionally solicited or procured the other person’s injurious actions,” according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

RELATED: Hundreds killed by guns in workplace

Here are some of the other provisions of SB 199:

  • Day care centers, which had been prohibited from allowing guns on their property, now can now choose to allow guns inside their buildings.
  • Government officials and university and college boards of trustees also can vote to allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons. State law had already widened the CCW rights to include government parking lots.
  • Senate Bill 199 also makes it legal for active duty members of the U.S. armed forces to carry a concealed handgun without getting a state permit as long as the person is carrying a valid military ID and proof of specific firearms training.
  • Federal property — such as the U.S. Postal Service or military installations such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — is generally not covered by the law.

PHOTOS: Residents respond to new law allowing handguns on private property

The final bill included changes in a House bill sponsored by then-State Rep. Ron Maag, R-Salem Twp. Maag said his bill was more concerned with loosening CCW rules in school zones, but he does not have a problem with allowing employees to bring guns to work and leave them in their cars.

RELATED: Despite new gun law, state firearms group won’t pressure colleges

“I don’t think too many employees will have too many problems with it,” Maag said.

But the drumbeat of gun laws — all designed to loosen restrictions — has angered gun control advocates, who say the legislation has done nothing to make communities safer.

Wright-Patt Employees can’t bring handguns to work

“There are a number of factors that influence whether or not gun violence occurs. The biggest one is whether or not there is a gun around,” said Jennifer Thorne, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. “When we have increased access to these kinds of deadly weapons there is an increased chance for deadly events to happen.”

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Police investigate video of man kicking cat off cliff

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 11:36 AM



Wang He/Getty Images

Police in North Carolina are investigating a viral video that appears to show a Charlotte man gleefully kick a cat off a steep hill.

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The man apparently recorded himself abusing the animal and then posted the video to Facebook.

As the man appears to kick the cat like a football, he can be heard exclaiming, “In the hole you go.”

After thousands of people shared the post and the video racked up more than a million views, the man posted a second video to Facebook saying, “Thanks to all y’all haters that got me a million views.”

Despite his apparent pride in the publicity, the Facebook posts were later removed.

WSOCTV is not naming the man, because he isn’t facing any charges at this time.

West Liberty school shooting suspect pleads not guilty by insanity

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

The suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ely Serna, through his attorney Dennis Lieberman, filed the plea by motions this week in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Judge orders competency hearing for West Liberty shooting suspect

Serna has been accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff.

READ MORE: ‘Cole’s Pack’ greets West Liberty school shooting victim

Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Lieberman also filed a motion to dismiss the case in adult court and transfer the case back to juvenile court. A juvenile judge moved the case to adult court earlier this month.

Stop sending EMS to respond to overdose calls, Ohio councilman says

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 12:22 PM

Frustration over the amount of money and public safety services being devoted to drug overdoses led to one Middletown, Ohio, city council member asking if it was possible for the city to not respond to such calls.

>> Read more trending news 

Saying the city needs to think outside the box, Middletown City Council member Dan Picard asked if it was possible for EMS to not respond to overdose calls.

Noting people with cancer don’t get free chemotherapy from medics, nor do people having heart attacks get a free heart bypass in an EMS run, Picard asked if there was a law that requires the city to respond to overdose calls.

MORE: Middletown on pace to double 2016 drug overdose numbers

The city is on pace to spend $100,000 for Narcan when it was budgeted $10,000 for the entire year, according to City Manager Doug Adkins.

Adkins said the city could privatize EMS services, or not have them at all. He said he would seek an opinion from the city’s law department.

Picard, who recently told the Journal-News he is not running for re-election in the fall, suggested issuing a court summons to a person who overdoses and ordering them to complete community service to work off the costs of the EMS run and Narcan.

He said arresting those who overdose only adds more costs to city taxpayers and strains the city jail and court system.

According to Adkins, most of those who overdose are transients and are not residents of the city.

“I want to send a message to the world that you don’t want to come to Middletown to overdose because someone might not come with Narcan and save your life,” Picard said. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”

MORE: Heroin ‘eating’ Middletown’s public safety services

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Batman thwarts would-be thief

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

A police officer dressed as Batman stopped a would-be thief in Texas on Saturday after the man attempted to nab four DVDs from a Walmart store, including the Lego Batman movie.

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“You cannot steal my movie,” Forth Worth police Officer Damon Cole joked to KDFW. “Come on.”

Cole was off-duty and dressed as Batman for a kids’ safety fair Saturday when he was alerted to a man who was attempting to shoplift four DVDs, KDFW reported.

“I stopped him as Batman,” Cole wrote in a tweet after the arrest. “He asked me for a selfie as Batman.”

Cole told KDFW that he travels the country in his off time, dressing up in superhero costumes and visiting sick children.

“I do that to give them inspiration and hope to keep fighting,” he told the news station.

In a tweet Monday, Cole wrote that Saturday marked the first time in his 17-year career that he’s arrested someone while dressed as Batman.

“I swear I can't make this stuff up,” he wrote.

Authorities gave the shoplifting suspect, who was not identified, a citation because the DVDs he attempted to nab were valued at less than $100, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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