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

Gun laws go into effect today

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.

Students hold dummy guns in a basic “First Shots” introductory firearms course taught by Jim Kokaly, a NRA certified instructor, on Jan. 24, 2013, at Sim Trainer in Moraine. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart/Staff Writer)

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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Woman who allegedly helped topple North Carolina Confederate statue arrested

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 4:00 AM

WATCH: Protesters Topple Confederate Statue In North Carolina

The woman who allegedly climbed a ladder to the top of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, and put a rope around its neck so the gathered crowd could pull it down has been arrested.

>> Watch the clip here

Takiyah Thompson, 22, who reportedly admitted she was the one who climbed the ladder — and she said she’d do it again — was taken into custody shortly after protesters held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at North Carolina Central University, according to WTVD in Raleigh-Durham.

She was charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500, and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500.

>> WATCH: Protesters topple Confederate statue in North Carolina

Those who took part in the toppling of the Confederate statue held the news conference Tuesday to call for any charges related to the incident to be dropped. However, according to WTVD, more arrests could be coming. The video showing the toppling of the statue went viral.

Thompson was given a $10,000 unsecured bond. The World Worker’s Party Durham chapter, of which Thompson is a member, has set up a legal defense fund to help fight her case in court.

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

“The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,” said Thompson, a student at N.C. Central University. “We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.”

More statues could be attempted to be torn down by protestors, according to World Worker’s Party activist Lamont Lilly, who said, “I hope so,” when asked by ABC 11 if more statues would be toppled. She said the group believes the statues are monuments to racism.

>> Read more trending news

The monument that was ripped down was of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle. It was erected in 1924, and inscribed on it are the words “In memory of the boys who wore the gray.”

“I feel like it’s important to tear down these vestiges of white supremacy,” Thompson told WTVD.

13-year-old boy dies from heroin, fentanyl overdose

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:02 AM

What You Need To Know About Heroin

A 13-year-old boy found dead in June in New Jersey died from a deadly mixture of heroin and fentanyl, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has announced in a press release.

According to KYW, how the teen, Vincent Weiner, came into possession of the drugs is unclear. His mother, Jamie Lund, pleaded for the public to find answers about who is supplying such young children with deadly drugs.

“Anyone, anyone who has any information on where he got it, please please please contact me or Chief Leusner or [any] of the officers of the Middle Township Police Department. Whoever is supplying these babies with drugs, needs to be stopped!” Lund wrote in a Facebook post. “My heart is broken, shattered into a million pieces. Thank you all for your continued support.”

>> Mom shares heartbreaking photo after daughter dies from heroin overdose

The Middle Township Middle School student was found unresponsive in bed on June 4 in a Rio Grande home, Ocean City Patch reported. Lund said her son had been bullied in the weeks leading up to his death. He was on his school’s wrestling team and was a Cub Scout.

“The two weeks or so prior [to Vincent’s death] there had been unusual behavior at school, it was discovered that he had been cutting [himself to self-harm],” Lund told news station WCAU. “And stories of bullying in school began to surface.”

>> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight

Fentanyl is showing up more and more in overdose deaths as a drug being mixed with heroin. The prosecutor’s office said in a news release that fentanyl is an extremely powerful and deadly controlled substance, approximately 100 times more potent than heroin.

Fentanyl is legally available in different forms such as intravenous injections, skin patches, dissolving oral films, lozenges or pills. In its most common illegal use, the substance is converted into a powdered form by drug distributors and mixed at dangerous and unmeasured levels with heroin, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

According to Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor, there has been an increase in the number of heroin bags submitted to the county, which have tested positive for the presence of fentanyl, WCAU reported.

Prosecutors said in their statement that “no one is immune from this epidemic, whether young or old.”

What is Fentanyl?

Suspect clad in hospital scrubs for 3 Lebanon robberies is in jail

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:09 AM

Robert Blevings

A Lebanon man wearing hospital scrubs is accused of showing a weapon Tuesday night to rob Domino’s Pizza.

Robert Blevings, 50, has an arraignment scheduled for this morning in Lebanon Municipal Court. He was booked early Wednesday into the Warren County Jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery.

RELATED: Warren County Jail bookings

Police were called around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday to the pizza restaurant, 915 N. Broadway St., in Lebanon, to an armed robbery. The suspect fled in a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle.

Police spotted a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse leaving the area of Domino’s. After a short pursuit, the driver stopped and was taken into custody without incident, according to a police Facebook post.

READ: Man pleads guilty in Warren County child sex case

Police said they found a loaded .38 revolver, blue bandanna and a plastic bag containing cash and receipts from Domino’s Pizza in Blevings’ car.

Blevings also matched the description of the suspect in the armed robbery July 25 of The Black Barn, 1161 W. Main St., and the July 30 attempted armed robbery of LaRosa’s Pizzeria, 1871 Deerfield Road, according to Lebanon police.

READ: Franklin father charged for role in son’s scalding death gets 3rd trial

A search of Blevings’ apartment led police to seize items related to the Black Barn and LaRosa’s incidents, including a firearm, clothing and property. Blevings allegedly admitted to committing the two robberies and attempted robbery.

Police said additional charges against Blevings are pending

DEA used GPS tracker to arrest local suspected drug trafficker

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 5:42 PM

Waiman Yu
Waiman Yu

A Drug Enforcement Agency sting led to the arrest of a local man suspected of being part of a large drug trafficking organization for nearly 20 years.

The man — who was once sentenced to six years for conspiracy to commit murder in Greene County — faces up to life in prison if he’s convicted of the crimes he’s indicted on in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

Waiman Yu, 39, was arrested July 17 after the DEA put a GPS tracking device on his car and stopped him with drugs in his Hyundai Elantra, according to a federal search warrant affidavit and return.

RELATED: 26 pounds of crystal meth seized by troopers on I-70

Yu also is connected to a recent case in which 26 pounds of crystal meth was seized during a traffic stop in Preble County, according to court documents.

Yu pleaded not guilty during his Wednesday arraignment to charges of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth, possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and felon in possession of a firearm.

Two of those counts include minimum sentences of 10 years to life while the gun charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.

RELATED: Drug cases ‘plaguing our region,’ U.S. attorney says

Task Force Officer Steven Duteil wrote that a source said in June that Yu was transporting a large amount of U.S. currency in a false gas tank from Ohio to California. The source reported Yu was back in Ohio a couple days later, Duteil wrote.

The affidavit said Yu was at the Knights Inn Motel in Miamisburg and preparing to go to Arizona to pick up heroin or fentanyl. The Volkswagen Passat he had been driving was later stopped with 26 pounds of crystal meth in it.

Dennis Olinger and Haley Bigelow, who were in the car, were charged in that case. Bigelow also pleaded not guilty during her Wednesday arraignment.

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In establishing background, the agent also wrote that in 1998, the Dayton DEA had information that Yu was part of packaging and transporting 28 kilograms of cocaine from Ohio to Chicago and handling $500,000 at the direction of Eduardo Bonilla.

Bonilla was convicted in a Greene County murder case in the death of Mark “Corky” Miller and sentenced to life in prison. Yu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit the murder that happened in Yu’s residence and served time in prison.

In June 2016, the DEA had surveillance on Yu meeting with suspected drug traffickers from Columbus at the same Knights Inn, but the surveillance was terminated when nothing criminal was seen.

RELATED: Local drug trade ‘bigger problem than we thought’

Duteil wrote that he obtained a federal warrant for installation of a tracking device on the Passat, which was stopped June 21 in Preble County.

The task force officer wrote that Olinger said he was part of a drug distribution ring operated by a Hispanic male who was incarcerated. Duteil wrote that he believed that person to be Bonilla.

The DEA then got approval to place a GPS device on Yu’s rented Hyundai Elantra, which the agency did from July 12 to July 17.

RELATED: Illinois man sentenced to 11 years for $250K worth of meth

Duteil wrote that vehicle traveled to Arizona for a brief stay and then returned to Ohio. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stopped the car July 17.

A drug dog alerted to the presence of narcotics and law enforcement discovered a kilogram of heroin hidden inside the vehicle.

Yu wore orange Shelby County Jail clothing during his arraignment Wednesday.

Bigelow was not in custody before Wednesday’s hearing. Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said she was in treatment and had been compliant, so her bond would be continued.

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Pretrial conferences were scheduled for both Yu and Bigelow for later this month.

A bill of information for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of meth has been entered for Olinger, who is being held in Butler County Jail.

Tabacchi, who earlier estimated the meth’s street value to be at least $400,000, said the 26-pound seizure was one of the largest in Ohio.