COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- On Thursday, several firearm-related bills received hearings at the Ohio Statehouse. One of the bills would allow Ohioans to carry a concealed weapon without a license.
House Bill 227 would eliminate the requirement of Ohioans to get a license before they carry a concealed gun. Proponents of the bill say it will eliminate red tape for law-abiding gun owners.
“People have to jump through hoops, they have to get fingerprints, background checks, cost, the whole nine yards,” said Rob Sexton, Legislative Affairs Director of Buckeye Firearms Association.
Sexton said this bill is the group’s top priority. He said with crime on the rise people need to be able to easily protect themselves.
“If we don’t have the ability to arm ourselves and protect our loved ones then really the only people out there are the criminals, and they don’t care whether there is a permit or not,” said Sexton.
However, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio said it’s the rise in violence that makes them concerned about this bill. They believe the issue could get worse if HB 227 is signed into law.
“We’re going to lose the permit, which has the training and the vetting and the background checks. So, you have to assume there’s going to be an increase in violence,” said Michael Weinman, Director of Governmental Affairs for FOP of Ohio.
A group of Moms Demand Action volunteers attended the hearing on Thursday. They say this bill and others like it, are the wrong direction for Ohio.
“It’s not a bill that’s designed to protect Ohioans and keep them safe. It will only increase gun violence and we’re already seeing epidemic levels,” said Laura Robertson-Boyd, Volunteer for Moms Demand Action.
The fourth hearing for HB 227 ended without a vote. There are no additional hearings scheduled as of now.