Expanded Concealed Carry Gun Law Affects Ohio Employers

Ohio Senate Bill 199 goes into effect on March 20, 2017.  The law expands under certain specified circumstances the rights of individuals with valid concealed handgun licenses to bring and to store handguns on an employer’s property.  It also restricts an employer’s ability to prohibit handguns on its premises.  Although not necessarily covered in this article, the law also modifies “the prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun onto institutions of higher education, day-care facilities, aircraft, certain government facilities, public areas of airport terminals, and school safety zones”  as those terms are defined in the law.

Employers, employees, independent contractors, vendors, and customers, among others, need to be aware of these changes governing handguns on an employer’s property.  As of March 20, 2017, a business entity, property owner or public or private employer cannot “establish, maintain or enforce” a policy prohibiting an individual who has a valid concealed handgun license from “transporting or storing” a firearm or ammunition when the following conditions are met:
  • Each firearm and all ammunition  remains inside the individual’s privately owned motor vehicle, while that individual is inside the vehicle or  each firearm and all ammunition is locked  in the trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment or container within or on the individual’s privately owned motor vehicle; and
  • The vehicle is in a permissible location.

R.C. 2923.1210(A)(1)&(2).  Because of this change in the law, employers should review their “firearms policy” and/or list of prohibited acts to make sure that any blanket prohibition against firearms on their premises is revised to allow an exception for any individual with a valid concealed handgun license under the conditions listed above.

The law also provides that a business entity, property owner or public or private employer shall not be liable in a civil action for damages, injuries or death resulting from another individual’s actions involving a firearm or ammunition transported or stored in compliance with the previously mentioned conditions unless the business entity, property owner, or public or private employer intentionally solicited or procured the injurious actions.

Senate Bill 199 also expands the rights of specified individuals to convey or possess a handgun in a school safety zone under R.C. 2923.122, which generally prohibits with certain exceptions the possession or conveyance of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone, again, as those terms are defined in the law.  One of the exceptions includes not only an individual with a valid concealed handgun license but also a person who is “an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States and is carrying a valid military identification card and documentation of successful completion of firearms training that meets or exceeds the training requirements” set forth in the Ohio Revised Code when all of the following conditions apply:

  • The individual leaves the handgun in a motor vehicle;
  • The handgun does not leave the motor vehicle; and
  • If the individual exits the motor vehicle, he or she locks the vehicle.
“School safety zones” include “a school, school building, school premises, school activity, and school bus.”  R.C. 2901.01(C)(1).  Schools and school districts should review their existing policies to make any changes necessary to comply with the revised law.