Concealed carry changes for veterans

A new law in Ohio means active duty military and honorable discharged veterans no longer have to pay fees or receive training to obtain a concealed carry license.

Ohio Senate Bill 81 was originally conceived by Sen. Lou Tehar in January 2018 before becoming a law on Nov. 5. The law states that active duty military, reserve members and honorably discharged veterans do not have to pay the filing fees associated when registering with the state. The current cost to file for the license is $67 for residents of more than five years or $77 for people living in the state under that time period. Also under the new law, the $50 renewal fee is also waved for those who have served or are serving.

Besides not paying the filing fees, current and former military members don’t have to complete the eight hours of firearm training requirement to receive the conceal carry licence. There are multiple training classes available to the public in the area with varying prices. For example, the West Virginia Gun Company in Vienna offers Ohio concealed carry classes for $85.

After completion of the course, potential license holders need to report to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with their class diploma, valid driver license, completed application and a passport sized photo along with their payment.

Capt. Brian Rhodes of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said veterans don’t need training that they’ve already received.

“They’ve already gone through firearm training,” he said. “What’s the point in doing it again?”

Rhodes also said he is glad the new law helps ease the burden for those who defend the country.

“Anytime there is a cost associated with something it creates a burden. So it’s nice to be able to remove that for them,” he said. “Time is important to everybody. I believe classes are eight hours for the license. Why waste that time for someone who already has training?”

Don Sprague, 75, of Marietta, a Korean War veteran, said he agreed with some aspects of the new law, but not all of them.

“Veterans shouldn’t have to pay the filing fee,” he said.

However, he said, for for those who haven’t had training for a while, the classes could be beneficial.

Sprague currently has his concealed carry license and had to take the firearm safety course before the new law was enacted.

“It was a nice refresher course,” he said. “It was good to go over things again.”

John Edwards, 72, of Marietta is a veteran of the Vietnam War and said he thinks the skills he and other veterans received while in uniform is enough to get the concealed carry license.

“We went through the training enough when we were in,” he said.

But Edwards did say that some members of the military have probably received more training than others when it comes to firearm safety.

“Members of the Marines or the Army have definitely gotten more training,” he said. “I’m just not sure how much people in the Air Force or Navy get, but I’ve have been following the new law and agree with it.”

Rhodes said regardless of which branch of the military a person serves or has served in, they still deserve the benefits that the new law gives them.

“With those people having served our country, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

At a glance

•What: New law waiving training and filing fees for concealed carry licenses for military members and veterans.

•When: Senate Bill 81 became law on Nov. 5.

•Cost savings: Fee for concealed carry license for Ohio residents of more than five years, $67. For residents less than 5 years, $77. The $50 renewal fee is also waived.

•For information: Contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 740-376-7070 or visit their website at washingtoncountysheriff.org.

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