New Ohio gun law divides Ohioans; some celebrating, others concerned with safety

It’s official: Most Ohioans will now be able to carry a gun concealed without needing a concealed carry permit.

It’s a move that has divided people in the Buckeye State; some are concerned about safety and others are celebrating what is known as “Constitutional Carry.”

“I’m not happy with the idea that you don’t have to inform law enforcement that you’re carrying a gun,” said Sanford Whitlow, CCW instructor and owner of Personal Defense Inc. in Vandalia. “We’re not emphasizing that you have to have the educational requirements that you did with CCW.”

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Many of Whitlow’s clients work in law enforcement and he says many of them he says are concerned about the new law.

“If you don’t know how to act or how to conduct yourself when you’re approached by law enforcement...you may do the wrong the wrong thing,” Whitlow said.

Under the new law, you don’t have to tell an officer you are carrying a concealed weapon, but if law enforcement asks you if you are, you are required by law to tell them. Failure to do so would be considered a misdemeanor offense, according to the bill signed into law this week.

While some are concerned about safety, others are praising the decision by the Governor and Ohio General Assembly to change the law surrounding concealed carry.

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“This is a day that will go down in history,” said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association. “The brass ring has always been to eliminate the licensing mandate, which people refer to as permitless carry or Constitutional Carry. And now, finally, that day is here. This is a great moment for Ohio and for those who wish to more fully exercise their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Local gun shop owner David Becker said he has mixed feelings on the new law.

“It’s double headed in one sense,” he said.

Becker said it may lead criminals to be more reluctant to commit acts of violence, since they would not know who is carrying a weapon. On the other hand, Becker said, there is a downside to the law.

“Constitution carry doesn’t require any level of training,” he told News Center 7′s Candace Price.

Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey told the Columbus Dispatch she thinks “it’s a fantasy to think this is going to make us safer.”

The Dispatch reported the shooting accuracy of trained deputies and police officers drops to about 40 percent in high stress situations.

“And that’s for an expert shooter...,” McGuffey told the Dispatch. “You are going to have people carrying that have no training.”

The new law on concealed carry will go into effect in the middle of June.

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