DeWine praised, criticized for signing ‘constitutional carry’ bill into law

Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 215, which allows anyone at least 21 who is legally allowed to have a gun be able to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. This removes the requirement for eight hours of gun safety training and a background check to carry a concealed weapon.

DeWine did not release a statement on why he signed the bill.

Here are how people and organizations across Ohio have reacted:

Buckeye Firearms Association:

“This is a day that will go down in history,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association. “It has been about 18 years since Ohio enacted HB 12 to bring licensed concealed carry to the state. However, the brass ring has always been to eliminate the licensing mandate, which people refer to as permitless carry or constitutional carry. And now, finally, that day is here. This is a great moment for Ohio and for those who wish to more fully exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Gov. DeWine made a campaign promise to Buckeye Firearms Association and to Ohio’s 4 million gun owners that he would sign a constitutional carry bill if it was put on his desk. And he has fulfilled his promise.”

Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence:

“Mike DeWine took another step today in putting our families in danger by allowing more guns on the streets of Ohio,” said Toby Hoover, founder of Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. “As a gun violence survivor, I am insulted that as governor, he is defining the culture of violence in Ohio by showing our children that one must be armed and fearful. I am ashamed of the governor and the legislators that are putting themselves and their fears first. It is time to put our kids first instead of the gun lobby that our legislators so actively partner with.”

Ohio Republican Party:

“Law-abiding Ohioans do not need a permission slip from the government to carry a firearm to defend their families and communities, and Ohio Republicans thank Gov. DeWine for his leadership in standing for our Second Amendment rights,” said Bob Paduchik, Ohio Republican Party chairman.

Ohio Democratic Party

“By signing this bill into law, Mike DeWine has sold out Ohioans and law enforcement officers to special interest groups and extremists in the legislature. This bill will make all Ohioans less safe. Time and again, DeWine has promised to support law enforcement officers and ‘do something’ to combat gun violence in our state. Once again, he’s failed on both fronts, putting his own political interests over the safety and well-being of his constituents,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters.

Bill sponsor state Sen. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott

“Senate Bill 215 is an important step in restoring Ohioans’ Second Amendment rights. If you are a law abiding citizen openly carrying in Ohio, which is already allowed by Ohio Law, and decide to put on a jacket or sweatshirt that would conceal your firearm, you are now breaking the law. Responsible gun owners should not be punished for lawfully practicing their constitutional rights, and this bill solves that problem,” said state Sen. Terry Johnson.

Innovation Ohio

“Gov. DeWine and Ohio’s Republican supermajority just passed an anti-life bill that will cause the deaths of Ohio children. They ignored grieving Dayton families and signed away Ohioans’ lives. No one asked for this bill. Police, parents and responsible gun owners alike actively fought against it. But national Republican money once again spoke louder than Ohio values,” said Innovation Ohio President and CEO Desiree Tims.

Jim Renacci, Republican candidate for Ohio governor

“Ohio gun owners should make no mistake that the only reason DeWine decided at the 11th hour to sign this bill is because his reelection campaign is in serious trouble. He’s a four-decade career politician who will say or do anything to get reelected. He’d gleefully sign a bill trampling on the Second Amendment without skipping a beat, and Ohio gun owners are rightfully nervous about what a second DeWine term would mean for their freedoms. I would not have hesitated to sign this bill even for a moment, let alone view it as a ‘tough decision’ like DeWine did. Ohioans deserve far better than this — and that’s why I’m committed to defeating DeWine and delivering the accountable conservative leadership we desperately need,” Jim Renacci said.

Nan Whaley, former Dayton mayor and Democratic candidate for Ohio governor

“After a mass shooting in Dayton, Gov. DeWine promised to do something to reduce gun violence. At every turn, he’s broken that promise. Signing this bill will make everyone in our communities, including our police officers, less safe. DeWine’s decision to sign this dangerous bill is shameless and disgraceful. Once again, he’s putting primary politics ahead of Ohioans. Ohio deserves better,” Nan Whaley said.

John Cranley, Democratic candidate for governor

“It’s going to lead to killings … It’s going to put police officers in harms way ... It’s an outrageous piece of legislation that stains Mike DeWine’s soul,” John Cranley said.

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