On April 13, Senate Bill 17 (Restaurant Carry) and SB 61 (Restoration of Rights) both passed out of the Ohio Senate. SB 17 passed with a 25-7 margin and SB 61 passed with a 27-5 margin. These are not “radical” bills as the media and anti-2nd amendment crowd would love for you to believe. In fact, they are quite the opposite.
SB 17, sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer (R), will allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm in restaurants. To do so, license holders may not consume any alcohol and must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to OpenCarry.org, 42 states (including every state that borders Ohio) allow non-drinking license holders to carry firearms in restaurants. The bill also reduces burdensome restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a car. Currently, Ohio is the only state to place such complex limitations on license holders. This bill is the same as SB239 from last session, but it adds a provision to provide a way for people who were convicted of improperly transporting a firearm under the current law to receive relief if they would have been in compliance under the law as amended in SB17.
SB 61, sponsored by Senator Jason Wilson (D) aligns Ohio law with federal statutes regarding the restoration of rights to Ohio firearms purchasers.
Ken Hanson, Legislative Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association, said, “These bills address three important issues facing Ohio gun owners and concealed carry license holders and seek to align Ohio law with federal law and the laws of our surrounding states.”
However, the bill is now held up in the House of Representatives. According to the Ohio Liberty Council,
“Restaurant Carry (Senate Bill 17) is stuck in the Ohio House waiting for a vote because we have some rather “weak-kneed” house Republicans that need some “encouragement” from their freedom-loving constituents.”
In order to get the bill up for a May 2 vote, supporters of gunowner rights need to let their representatives know they support the two bills. The Ohio Liberty Council has establish a webpage form making it easy to do so. The webpage can be accessed at http://www.ohiolibertycouncil.org.