FYI Ohio members

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Jun 13, 2006
Central OH

One of the most frequently requested changes to Ohio law by concealed handgun licensees is to remove the ban on self-defense while dining in a nice restaurant. Under current Ohio law, concealed handgun license (CHL) holders are prohibited from carrying their handgun into any restaurant which has a class D liquor permit and serves liquor regardless of whether or not that person is consuming alcohol. This means virtually all restaurants other than fast food places or diners are off limits. Ohio is one of the few states with such severe restrictions, as thirty-nine states, including every state surrounding Ohio, have a provision for self defense while dining and several more are considering an exception as well.

Earlier this year, OFCC's Secretary/Treasurer Daniel White worked with the OFCC Coordinator committee and drafted a bill to address this shortcoming. We are pleased to announce that this bill has been introduced!

House Bill 203, sponsored by Danny Bupb and Jarrod Martin, was submitted today and will soon be assigned to a committee. This important fix would add restaurants to the current exemption that covers class D retail stores provided the licensee is not consuming alcohol. The bill was cosponsored by 16 other legislators, including Representatives Adams, J., Amstutz, Blair, Combs, Hall, Huffman, Jones, Jordan, Maag, McGregor, Sears, Snitchler, Uecker, Wachtmann, Wagner, and Zehringer.

"The anti-gun crowd likes to talk about 'common sense' gun laws," said White. "Is it common sense to prohibit licensed individuals from being able to protect themselves just because they happen to be in a restaurant that serves alcohol? I can have a root beer and a cheeseburger at McDonald's while carrying my firearm and it's perfectly legal, but if I go across the street to Applebee's and have the same meal I'm committing a felony! How is that common sense?"

This point was clearly illustrated in Tennessee in early April when Benjamin Felix Goeser was gunned down as he and his wife were leaving a sports bar. Nicole Goeser had a concealed handgun license, but her gun was locked in her car because, like Ohio, Tennessee prohibits licensees from carrying in a restaurant that serves alcohol even if you're not drinking.

Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are the only states with a complete prohibition (source:

The change is very simple, tacking on restaurants to the existing exemption for retail stores as found in ORC 2923.121. If this bill is enacted, it would still be a felony for a CHL holder to consume alcohol in the restaurant. Concealed carry in such restaurants would only be legal if the CHL holder is not drinking.

This is just the first step in a long process, and we encourage all our members and supporters to contact their legislators early and often to urge them to pass this bill before the legislature takes their summer break.

Further reading:

2923.121(e) Any person who is carrying a valid license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun issued to the person under section 2923.125 or 2923.1213 of the Revised Code or a license to carry a concealed handgun that was issued to the person by another state with which the attorney general has entered into a reciprocity agreement under section 109.69 of the Revised Code and who possesses the firearm in a retail food establishment or food service operation with any class liquor permit issued for that location under section 4303 of the Revised Code, or in a retail store with D-6 and D-8 permits issued for that store under sections 4303.182 and 4303.184 of the Revised Code or a D-8 permit issued for that store under section 4303.184 of the Revised Code, as long as the person is not consuming liquor or under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.

Definitions (ORC 3717.01):

(C) “Retail food establishment” means a premises or part of a premises where food is stored, processed, prepared, manufactured, or otherwise held or handled for retail sale. Except when expressly provided otherwise, “retail food establishment” includes a mobile retail food establishment, seasonal retail food establishment, and temporary retail food establishment.

(F)“Food service operation” means a place, location, site, or separate area where food intended to be served in individual portions is prepared or served for a charge or required donation. As used in this division, “served” means a response made to an order for one or more individual portions of food in a form that is edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation and “prepared” means any action that affects a food other than receiving or maintaining it at the temperature at which it was received.

Except when expressly provided otherwise, “food service operation” includes a catering food service operation, food delivery sales operation, mobile food service operation, seasonal food service operation, temporary food service operation, and vending machine location.

Didn't see this posted anywhere else. Now to get this passed! :D

Please contact your State Representative and ask him/her to support HB 203. If you don't know who your representative is, visit the House web site and plug in your zip code in the box in the right column.

The Ohio House of Representatives
Well, it's about time. This should pass easily (and soon), shouldn't it?

The Democrats took control of the Ohio House in January. The Speaker, Armond Budish has an NRA rating of "D". In addition, he voted against SB 184 (Castle Doctrine + CCW law clean up bill) last session.

If the Democratic leadership chooses to bottle up the bill in committee, the bill will die with no opportunity for the members to vote on it.

Only a concerted effort by Ohio gun owners will give this bill any chance.
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