By Melanie L. Webber
On December 19, 2016, Ohio governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that will expand the rights of concealed carry permit holders, allow active duty members of the armed forces to carry weapons without a concealed carry license if certain conditions are met, and broaden the scope of places where concealed carry license holders may carry guns.
Important to Ohio employers, this new law gives individuals with valid concealed handgun licenses the right to bring their licensed firearms into your parking lot, which many Dealers currently prohibit in their Weapons policies. Specifically, under the new law, which will go into effect March 21, 2017, you may no longer have a policy banning a person with a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition inside the person’s privately-owned motor vehicle, provided the following conditions are met:
– When the license holder is absent from the vehicle, the firearm and ammunition must be locked in the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment of the person’s vehicle;
– When the license holder is present in the vehicle, the firearm and ammunition must remain in the vehicle; and
– The license holder’s vehicle must be parked in a permitted location. O.R.C. §2123.1210
Also be aware that Ohio law does provide immunity for employers who choose to allow, or prohibit, handguns on the premises:
A private employer shall be immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer, unless the private employer acted with malicious purpose. A private employer is immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to the private employer’s decision to permit a licensee to bring, or prohibit a licensee from bringing, a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer. O.R.C. §2923.126(C)(2)
So, what should Dealers do now? You need to review and update your policies regarding weapons in the workplace to allow individuals with valid Ohio concealed carry licenses to bring their weapons in their privately-owned vehicles, in accordance with the provisions of the new law (i.e., gun and ammunition locked in their trunk, glove compartment or other compartment when they are not in their vehicle; park in permitted locations; and gun must remain locked in the car if your policy prohibits weapons in Dealer buildings or other vehicles). You can still prohibit your employees from carrying their weapons into Dealership-owned buildings or Dealership- or customer-owned vehicles, if you choose to do so, and also can prohibit your customers/business visitors from bringing their weapons into your buildings or Dealership-owned vehicles.
If you have any questions about this new law or if you need assistance updating your existing policies, contact Melanie Webber at (440) 838-8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.