Ohio’s state House Federalism Committee voted in favor of permitless concealed carry for all legal gun owners on Wednesday.
The 7-4 vote puts Bill 178 closer to a full House vote after passing the committee, opening the possibility for Ohioans to carry a concealed weapon without needing a permit, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Republican Reps. Ron Hood of Ashville and Tom Brinkman of Cincinnati co-sponsored the bill, which would permit anyone 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon with training or a permit as long as they are qualified to own a gun.
Of the four opposing votes were three Democrats and Republican Rep. Ryan Smith.
Rep. Ryan Smith voted against the bill because he does not support an amendment that would have reestablished the “duty to inform” when someone carrying a gun is stopped by police.
An amendment presented by Rep. J. Kyle Koehler was added to the bill and received a 6-5 vote. The amendment would require gun dealers to provide every buyer with a pamphlet that explains the state’s gun laws.
Ohio Gun Owners group opposed Koehler’s amendment because the pamphlet includes a section on the “duty to retreat” under Ohio law, stating gun owners are prohibited from using a weapon in self-defense from an attacker unless they feel they are in danger of their lives and have attempted to escape the attacker.
Rep. Hood said, “although the pamphlet sounds like a good idea, one of the concerns that I have — and that many members and many folks have expressed to me — is that until we pass a Stand Your Ground law in the state of Ohio, there are many who could read that pamphlet, believe that they have to retreat and therefore get themselves killed.”
House Speaker Larry Householder said via Facebook that he has been contacted numerous times by the Ohio Gun Owners group advising him to stop a vote on the amendment because it “can get gun owners killed.”
Householder said, “I take statements like that very seriously. I have instructed my staff to draft an amendment to remove that amendment from the bill and have instructed the bill’s sponsors to go out and get the votes to clean this bill up.”
“I understand the issues with the Stand Your Ground law. If folks don’t like the (current) law, then change it. I can’t inform gun owners in the state of Ohio of something that isn’t the law, whether I agree with the law or not,” Koehler added.
Normally, the bill would advance to the House floor, but because it has been so heavily debated, Householder is sending it to the House Criminal Justice Committee for a further review and vote.