Ada police chief Mike Harnishfeger (at podium) and Sergeant Keith Everhart of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Dept. answer questions at the public meeting in ONU’s McIntosh Center dealing with the new conceal and carry law.
Ada police chief Mike Harnishfeger (at podium) and Sergeant Keith Everhart of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Dept. answer questions at the public meeting in ONU’s McIntosh Center dealing with the new conceal and carry law.
This is the first of a two-part series on the new concealed carry gun law in Ohio...

ADA/KENTON - As of 8 a.m. on April 8, 2004, it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in the state of Ohio - with a license and limitations on where you are.

Ohio House Bill 12 created new sections to the Ohio Revised Code that came into effect at that time, allowing average citizens to become licensed and carry a handgun concealed on their person.

There are many restrictions and you must have proof of taking a firearms safety training course within three years of applying for the license and pass a background check to ensure you have no history of violent crimes or felonies.

Sgt. Keith Everhart of the Hardin County Sheriff's Department is in charge of handling the applications and licenses in the county.

He said the turnout wasn't as big as he thought it might be but there still were plenty of people showing interest.

"We had thirteen filed, with another 30 who came in to figure out how to apply," said Everhart. "Within the next week I'll have 40 to 45."

"There are some issues of the law I think will wind up in the supreme court," noted Everhart. "There will be a couple of parts of the law that will be in question."

He said even with the possible problems with the law, having a concealed carry law has helped lower the crime rate in other places.

"It's a proven fact throughout the country that it does drop violent crime," stated Everhart.

He told a gathering of just over twenty interested parties attending a meeting about the new law.

Held along with Ada Police Chief Michael Harnishfeger, and Ohio Northern Head of Security, George Sleesman, it informed people that there are many requirements you must meet before you are licensed.

"Carrying a concealed handgun is a privilege, not a right," began Harnishfeger as he spoke to the interested parties on hand for the meeting.

The cost of the license is a $45 fee to be paid to Hardin County in cash or money order that is not refundable.

The new law allows the person processing your application to do a full background check on the person. This includes sealed records, expunged records, and juvenile records.

You cannot have ever been charged or under indictment for any felony, any drug offense, misdemeanor offense of violence, negligent assault, falsification to obtain the concealed carry license, or possess a revoked or suspended concealed carry license.

You also cannot be convicted of a felony, drug offense or assault on a peace officer.

There are many other disqualificaions, such as if you have been judged as being mentally incompetent, or have been committed to a mental institution.

You also are checked for having a temporary or civil protection order against you in Ohio or any other state.

To qualify for the license you must have completed a minimum of 12 hours including 10 hours of class room study and two hours on a firing range proving hands on use and knowledge safe operation and use of a handgun.

According to a handout summary of the law given by Sgt. Everhart at the public meeting a part of the instruction in this course needs to cover the responsibility of a person carrying a hand gun.

There are many places in which it is prohibited to carry a concealed gun even with the passage of this law.

They include but are not limited to any property or subdivision owned by the government. This includes parks, schools, courthouses, colleges, sheriff's offices and police stations, jails, airports, mental health facilities, and many other places.

It is also not allowed to carry a concealed weapon in churches unless the church gives prior approval.

It is illegal to carry the concealed hand gun in any establishment or room or open air arena where a D liquor permit has been issued.

"You can't have a concealed gun in a place that has on-site consumption of alcohol," said Harnishfeger.

Any business can "negate or restrict any rule, policy or practice concerning or prohibiting the presence of firearms on the private employer's premises or property including motor vehicle owned by the employer."

Richard Baum of Kenton went through the process of applying for the concealed carry license at the Hardin County Sheriff's Office and while he stated there are some things in the law he would like to see changed he is happy that Ohio passed the new law.

"I'm a gun enthusiast," said Baum.

"I probably won't carry it most of the time but I can carry a gun if I feel the need. I feel there is some problems with certain areas of the law but I think they will be worked out as they move forward."

Rules on carrying the gun in a vehicle were one of the areas of the law he was not pleased with.

He said some of the people who need to protect themselves the most might be a woman who has to drive through a high crime section of a city at night yet you can't have the concealed gun in a vehicle.

He said he was happy that he would be able to get the license and was glad Ohio enacted this law. Next week we will have some reaction from the legal side of this law and an overview of what this law could mean to Ohio.