COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Recent mass shootings across the nation have some in central Ohio concerned for their safety at large events like the upcoming Ohio State Fair. But even with the nation’s gun culture, firearms are not banned at this year’s state fair.
With the gates opening in just three weeks, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said it plans to increase security measures, just in case.
Across the United States, there have been more than 300 mass shootings so far in 2022. This has Ohio families on edge to enjoy family-friendly events like the fair.
“No matter if you are going out to breakfast with your kids or the state fair, it is something that you are always going to be thinking about,” Molly Meddock said.
Meddock is a mother of two four-year-olds. She said increasing security is great, but she said mass shootings will constantly be a fear for mothers like herself.
“Ever since walking them around as newborns, it’s been something where you always have to have in the back of your mind some sort of plan,” Meddock said.
With the return of the state fair, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has a plan, too. Lt. Nathan Dennis said there will be increased patrols around the grounds, more cameras, and troopers will be on high alert.
“So just know that while you’re there, you are going to see an increased presence of law enforcement. Everywhere you go at the state fairgrounds, you should see a state trooper,” Dennis said.
Dennis said fairgoers will have to go through metal detectors and have their bags searched before entering.
However, even with the recent changes to Ohio’s concealed carry law, representatives from the Ohio Expo Center said, “Fairgoers carrying a firearm, concealed or open, are permitted to enter the outdoor portions of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair only. If any patron carrying a firearm would like to enter a building, the patron will be given the option to return the firearm to his or her vehicle and return to the fair with an admission handstamp.”
There is no clear answer on whether troopers will be checking for permits at the door.
“We are always on alert, we are always looking around and are prepared to respond to anything that is necessary,” Dennis said. “And hopefully we don’t have to.”
Dennis said you should always have a trooper in sight while at the fair, so if you see anything suspicious, do not be afraid to report it.