On Dec. 19, Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a bill expanding gun rights in Ohio to include the use of suppressors by hunters, concealed-carry permit requirement reforms and mandatory shall-certify rules for National Firearms Act (NFA) items.
A number of other pro-gun provisions were added to the legislation, including allowing long-gun purchases in non-contiguous states; requiring sheriffs to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in processing concealed-handgun-license applications; recognition of all states' concealed-carry permits and requiring the chief law enforcement officer to process forms for NFA items just as they would for a CHL applicant.
Several provisions were added to HB 234 in the Senate prior to its 24-6 vote Dec. 9, while the House subsequently concurred 69-16 before the measure headed to Gov. Kasich, where its signing was anticipated, despite intense lobbying efforts from anti-gun groups.
As signed into law, NRA-supported HB 234:
- Improves the concealed handgun license process by (1) reducing the number of training hours required from 12 to 8 hours, (2) eliminating minimum length-of-residency requirements, (3) allowing non-residents who work in Ohio to apply for a CHL in the county or adjacent county in which they work and (4) makes special provisions for members of the military who have been honorably discharged or retired, extending their competency certification from six years to 10 years after honorable discharge or retirement.
- Expands concealed-carry reciprocity to visitors and persons temporarily in Ohio who have valid out-of-state licenses, regardless of whether the license-issuing state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with Ohio.
- Repeals the prohibition on Ohio citizens buying and/or selling long guns or ammunition from only the five contiguous states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Citizens of Ohio can purchase and/or sell rifles and shotguns in any state as long as the firearm laws in both states are followed.
- Includes a "shall certify" provision requiring a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) to sign off on an application to transfer an item regulated by the NFA, once the application procedure and requirements are met. This provision eliminates personal bias regarding NFA items, requiring CLEOs to sign off and process the application in the same way they do a concealed-handgun license.
- Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting in the Buckeye State.
- Brings Ohio's definition of "automatic firearm" in line with the federal definition, limiting it to only any firearm designed or adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger.