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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Cemetery plant thief is flower shop owner

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 6:45 PM


A police surveillance operation to determine who was stealing flowers and plants from a New Jersey cemetery came to a startling conclusion: The suspect is a flower shop owner.

Theft complaints at First Reformed Church Cemetery prompted police to use surveillance cameras to monitor for criminal activity. Lynda S. Wingate, 59, was captured Monday night on surveillance video stealing plants from a grave, police said.

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Wingate is a former police dispatcher and current owner of a flower shop. It was unclear why Wingate was stealing the cemetery floral displays, as it does not appear she was reselling them, police said.

Wingate was charged with theft of movable property, according to the Pequannock Township Police Department news release.

Dayton man 5th Ohioan charged for involvement with ISIS

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

            Southwest Ohio residents Laith Alebbini, Christopher Lee Cornell and Munir Abdulkader were each arrested on terrorism-related charges. STAFF ILLUSTRATION / CONTRIBUTED

The Dayton man arrested Wednesday on charges accusing him of planning to join ISIS was the fifth Ohioan and 122nd person charged in the U.S. with similar offenses, according to data collected by a Washington D.C.-based group studying homegrown terrorism.

However, Laith Waleed Alebbini, 26, of Dayton, bucked recent trends when he tried to board an airplane at Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport.

FIRST REPORT: Dayton man accused of trying to join ISIS in Syria

“We haven’t seen that many attempted travelers recently,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

“Your guy’s a bit of a novelty,” Hughes said Friday after returning to the U.S. from a conference in Austria. “I think he missed his window if he wanted to travel.”

Hughes said ISIS had been urging recruits to focus on local actions, rather than trying to travel to Syria or Jordan.

RELATED: UD professor says we should feel lucky after terror arrest

“2015 was kind of the banner year for ISIS in America,” Hughes said, noting 61 people were arrested that year, compared to 10 so far this year.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Hughes, a recognized expert on homegrown violent extremism and countering violent extremism.

While unable to travel abroad to get training, the aspiring terrorists sometimes “turn inward” if forced to remain in the U.S.

“It causes a level of frustration,” said Hughes, who previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center helping the U.S. government counter violent terrorism.

So far, 72 of those arrested have pleaded or been found guilty.

RELATED: Who is the Dayton man linked to ISIS?

Alebbini remained in jail on Friday, scheduled for a detention hearing on May 2 in U.S. District Court. His first preliminary hearing is set for May 11.

Most of the other 50 charged with involvement with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or IS and ISIL, are also awaiting trial, according to data gathered by the Program on Extremism at at George Washington University.

Some wanted for their crimes live overseas and “are charged in absentia,” Hughes added.

The five arrests in Ohio don’t include two notable incidents. Abdul Razak Ali Artan was fatally shot during an attack last November with a car and a knife at a parking garage at The Ohio State University. Mohammed Barry was fatally shot after attacking customers and police at a Columbus restaurant in February.

Of those charged, 44 percent were accused of attempting to travel or successfully traveled abroad, while 29 percent were accused of being involved in plots to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.

RELATED: 3 times southwest Ohio men were linked to terror plots

Alebbini is among 59 percent arrested from evidence gathered in part through a confidential informant or undercover agent.

Hughes said this technique provides the FBI “a window in” and enables them to gather evidence on the suspect, assess the seriousness and immediacy of the threat and determine the extent of his network (89 percent are male).

“Some FBI agents describe it as a controlled explosion,” Hughes said.

While noting the data represents a small number of people, Hughes said, “It is concerning nonetheless.”

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On Thursday, Abdul Shahid, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Dayton, said he hoped to use the local case to increase public awareness of Muslim teachings.

“It is very frustrating, but looking at it from a global point of view, this gives me an opportunity to explain about Islam, and it’s beautiful teachings, and it creates a need for people to hear about this,” he said at the Fazl-i-Umar Mosque in Dayton. “This is not the best way to go about it, but unfortunately this is the need of the time.”

While ISIS resorts to violent means, Shahid said devout Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people.

“That is what Islam gives us, an opportunity to live it in our lives, to be able to be successful, not only be successful, but be productive citizens of humanity, productive citizens of our country and be helpful, not hurtful as ISIS has been presenting.”

WHIO-TV Reporter Natalie Jovonovich contributed to this report.

Dayton man, company to pay $1.4M in Medicaid fraud case

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 4:48 PM

A Dayton-area alcohol and drug outpatient treatment center and its owner were ordered to pay more than $1.4 million today following an investigation into Medicaid fraud.

Ohio Attorney Gen. Mike DeWine’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit found that The Morrow Group LLC, owned by Clifford Morrow, 68, of Dayton, billed and obtained money for services never provided from the Ohio Department of Medicaid between Aug. 10, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2015, DeWine announced.

Morrow billed for services on behalf of clients who had died, and fired employees who questioned the illegal practices, according to DeWine.

As a result of the investigation, the Ohio Department of Medicaid terminated its contract with The Morrow Group, which was located on Frederick Pike in Dayton.

Morrow and his corporation pleaded guilty and were ordered to serve one year of probation. If Morrow or his company violate the terms, Morrow would face prison time. Morrow also was ordered to pay $1,414,622 in restitution.

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Family of girl stabbed at recess to sue Dayton Public Schools

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 3:45 PM

Family members of a 7-year-old girl who was stabbed on a Dayton school playground during recess last May plan to sue Dayton Public Schools, alleging negligence because the district failed to ensure the safety of its students.

“There was a fundamental breakdown in the establishment of security protocols and something as basic as erecting a fence around a playground for elementary children in a neighborhood with known high crime rate and sexual offenders,” attorney Michael Wright said.

VIDEO: Violent crimes surround neighborhood where stabbing happened

The second-grader was stabbed by an unknown assailant at World of Wonder PreK-8 on Oakridge Drive just southwest of the intersection of Gettysburg and Hoover. Police have not arrested anyone and previously said they’ve hit a wall in the case. Dayton police did not return a message Friday asking for a case update.

No security guard was on duty the day of the stabbing. A fence was installed last July at the school, and DPS weighed additional security measures.

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“While it’s great that DPS (retroactively) took these measures, the reality is the circumstances and dangers which motivated DPS to enact these safeguards after this stabbing existed before this incident occurred. As such, this was easily preventable,” Wright said. “As you can imagine, subsequent measures are of little consolation to a family who could have been mourning the loss of a child had this perpetrator took other action.”

Wright plans to file the suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court next Friday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the incident.

RELATED: Police hit stone wall in stabbing case

“Fortunately, and unfortunately, this child is with her family, but now has to reconcile what occurred with the fact that police cannot find this man,” Wright said. “She has regular nightmares and as the ‘anniversary’ of the day moves closer, this child is now reliving the trauma of that day.”

The attorney said the girl’s severe stab wound caused severe bleeding, a right tube thoracotomy, right lung contusion and laceration and right rib fracture.

“She’s on the mend,” Wright said, but is “still dealing with some psychological issues.”

EARLIER: 7-year-old stabbed on playground won’t return to school

A draft of the lawsuit obtained by this news organization is being brought by the girl and the girl’s mother (both listed as Jane Does) along with the girl’s father, Vernon Nored III. It names as defendants Dayton Public Schools, the Board of Education, individual board members Adil Baguirov, Hazel Roundtree, Joe Lacey, Ronald Lee, John McManus, Sheila Taylor, Robert Walker and various DPS employees.

Wright alleges that random strangers have walked through school premises and that 39 sex offenders live within one mile of the school and that number triples within a radius of two miles. A Dayton Daily News search of sex offenders conducted Friday found 35 within a mile and 111 within two miles.

RELATED: DPS weighs more security after attack

Richard Wright II, associate director of DPS’s Office of Safety and Security, did not return a message seeking comment. Neither did attorney Brian Wildermuth, who Richard Wright said was representing the district.

The suit seeks in excess of $25,000 for compensatory damages, attorney fees, court costs and other relief the court deems appropriate. Wright said there has been no settlement offer from DPS and that the district claims it has immunity.

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