Consider This if Carrying a Concealed Weapon

Permitless handgun Carry has passed its one-month anniversary after being enacted into Ohio’s law books by Senate Bill 215. The bill’s drafting, passage and implementation have not been without debate by the public and political pundits. Ohio now joins 24 other states that allow qualified adults to legally conceal a handgun on their person and carry it in public.

The Second Amendment has been debated for years and re-affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in countless cases. As I am an avid student of the Constitution and swore an oath to defend this document for over 32 years, I believe the current state of violence in our society should cause us all to remember that exercising our Second Amendment right carries a serious responsibility.

As a law enforcement officer, I see Senate Bill 215 as a bitter/sweet paradigm in balancing rights and responsibilities. On one hand, Ohio law affirms a qualified individual’s Constitutional right to carry a handgun with less restrictions. On the other hand, the new law eliminates mandatory education and training which promote responsible gun ownership.

If you are a qualified adult and are considering exercising your Second Amendment right by carrying a concealed handgun, I encourage you to join me in completing two essential endeavors before making this very important choice. First, seek appropriate and competent training regarding the safe handling and operation of your handgun. Continually practice to become a proficient and accurate shooter as you are responsible for the final destination of every bullet that leaves your handgun.

Second, look introspectively to determine if you possess the moral and emotional ability to use deadly force against another person in defense of yourself or another. Being involved in a shooting could have drastic mental health consequences for many years. Contemplating the appropriate state of mind before involving yourself in a serious confrontation will help you respond appropriately, safely and responsibly.

On a final note, the new law does not require mandatory notification of your concealed handgun possession to law enforcement when appropriately stopped. However, if you are asked by law enforcement about your concealed handgun possession, you must tell the truth. Senate Bill 215 is new for all of us and I encourage that we all do our part in de-escalating tension and building trust. If you are carrying a concealed handgun, please be courteous, keep your hands in plain view and advise law enforcement you have possession of a handgun. Peace officers have a very dangerous job and they strive each day to make our communities safe. Let’s keep everyone safe.

Jack M. Hall

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