A new law known as “Constitutional Carry” went into effect in Ohio on Monday, allowing those who are 21-years-of age or older who would be qualified for a concealed carry license to carry a concealed handgun without actually possessing a license.

The law does not apply to people who would be denied a license under the law.

Attorney and Prosecutor Traci L. Timko, points out that when an individual is stopped by law enforcement, they must tell that officer that they are carrying a handgun, keep their hands n plain sight, not touch or reach for the weapon, and obey all police orders.

Failure to do any of these things, says Timko, is a crime that could result in arrest and is punishable by jail time and fines.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Green recently offered answers to frequently asked questions about the new law:

Q: Is Ohio’s concealed handgun license optional after June 13th, 2022?

A: Yes. Senate Bill 215 legalizes constitutional carry in Ohio. Residents are still encouraged to obtain a concealed handgun license with their local Sheriff’s Office. The new law allows a person to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, however, the same rights and responsibilities apply to constitutional carry and those who have a valid concealed handgun license.

Q: What is the benefit of obtaining a concealed handgun license in Ohio if I do not need one anymore?

A: During a certification course, individuals receive in-depth training on firearm safety, safe storage and handling, how a firearm mechanically functions, a deeper understanding of the law, and a skills test. This information is critical when ensuring the safety of the firearm operator and those around them. A valid license will also permit you to carry in other states that have reciprocity with Ohio and may not recognize constitutional carry.

Q: If a person was previously denied a license in Ohio, are they permitted to carry without a license?

A: No. The law did not change regarding who can legally carry a handgun. You must still be a legally qualified adult, be at least 21 years of age, and not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law. Additional criteria include but is not limited to: legally living in the United States, not a fugitive from justice, not under indictment for (or previously plead guilty to) a felony, any drug offense or misdemeanor offense of violence, have not been adjudicated as mentally defective, has not been committed to any mental institution, is not under adjudication of mental incompetence, has not been found by a court to be a mentally ill person subject to a court order, and is not an involuntary patient, not currently subject to a civil protection order or a temporary protection order, and has not been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions.

Q: In Ohio, are citizens required to carry a concealed handgun license on their person?

A: No. A license holder was required to have the permit on their person, however, with the new law, people are no longer required to carry the physical permit.

Q: Will Ohio continue to issue concealed handgun licenses?

A: Yes. The new law does not affect the licensing process. People who travel outside of Ohio still need to have a valid license to carry a concealed handgun in other states that do not recognize constitutional carry. Individuals are encouraged to obtain a concealed handgun license with their local Sheriff’s Office.

Q: Does this change how people carry concealed handguns in motor vehicles?

A: No. While in a motor vehicle, an individual can possess a concealed handgun. The new legislation refers strictly to concealed handguns only. The current law as it relates to the transportation of rifles/shotguns remains the same. Rifles and shotguns must be transported in a separate container or closed compartment and separated from the ammunition in your trunk or in an area not accessible without leaving your vehicle.

Q: Can a person carry into a prohibited area?

A: No. Areas that are currently no-carry zones such as schools; local, state, or federal government facilities; detention facilities; airports, or otherwise posted locations will remain no-carry zones. Property owners are still able to post a “no-firearms” notice. If notice is NOT posted, an individual can carry a handgun into any business that is issued a Class D liquor permit such as nightclubs, carry-outs, restaurants, shopping malls, etc. However, if the individual will be consuming alcohol, they are not permitted to carry a concealed handgun.

Q: Can non-residents carry concealed handguns in Ohio without a license?

A: Yes. There is no residency requirement for those legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun or practice their constitutional carry right in Ohio. Additionally, Ohio law gives the Attorney General the right to negotiate concealed handgun reciprocity agreements with other states. For more information, please visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website.