On December 19, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 199, a law which makes various amendments to Ohio’s existing law regarding concealed handgun license holders and their firearms. Among other things, the new law specifies circumstances under which active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces do not need a concealed handgun license in order to carry a handgun, and amends the restrictions against carrying a concealed handgun at institutions of higher education, day-care facilities, private aircraft, certain government facilities, and school safety zones.
For Ohio employers, the most meaningful part of Senate Bill 199 is the addition of Ohio Revised Code §2923.1210, which provides that a business entity, property owner, or public or private employer may not establish, maintain, or enforce a rule or policy which prohibits a person with a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition inside the person’s privately owned motor vehicle. To possess a concealed handgun lawfully on that property, the license holder (when absent from the vehicle) must lock the firearm and ammunition in the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment of the person’s vehicle, or, when the license holder is physically present in the vehicle, the firearm and ammunition must remain inside the vehicle.
Additionally, the license holder’s vehicle must be parked in a permitted location. As long as those conditions are met, the business entity, property owner, or employer may not ban a concealed handgun license holder from bringing the firearm and ammunition onto its property. The prior law allowed a business entity, property owner, or employer to ban firearms (even those held by concealed handgun license holders) from all of its property. The new law, which takes effect in 90 days, allows concealed handgun license holders to keep their firearms “in the parking lot,” so long as the weapon and the ammunition are secured in the trunk, glove box, or other compartment or container.
Thus, employers who have previously adopted policies and signage prohibiting firearms from all employer property will need to revisit those policies and revise them accordingly. If you have questions or need more information about the new law, please contact any of the Labor & Employment lawyers at Calfee, or your regular Calfee contact.
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