By Ethan Hockaday and Pulse Staff
The University of Findlay Office of Campus Safety recently reminded the campus community that a new law regarding guns in Ohio went into effect over the summer and explained how it applies to them.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the legislation into law on March 14 and it took effect in June. The new law allows people to carry concealed firearms with no training, background check, or permit.
But UF Chief of Police and Director of Security Bill Spraw sent out an email Aug. 10 making it clear that the University is still a forbidden carry zone.
“Firearms have been forbidden on campus per State law and that continues with the new law unless the subject is authorized by the University, i.e. law enforcement,” Spraw said.
The forbidden zone also includes airports, courthouses, and school safety zones among other areas.
Though the law will seemingly not affect the rules on campus, UF student Desiree Smith, a sophomore studying TESOL still has concerns about the law.
“If you need a license to sell things or fish, you need at least a license to carry something as deadly as a gun,” Smith said.
UF student Anna Ride, a junior studying accounting, found the loosening of requirements for concealed carrying odd.
“If someone with good intentions wants to conceal carry (self-defense), they will have no objection to completing training,” Ride said. “I myself want to conceal carry, but again, I am more than happy to complete training and background checks to do so.”
Both students agreed with the current policy used by the campus police, stating that they don’t believe that anyone should have guns on campus outside of those used by the police acknowledging that if someone came to campus with criminal intentions, they have no reason to comply with no-gun zones.
Spraw says regardless of the campus status as a forbidden zone, his officers will stay diligent.
“Similar to how it affects the campus, my officers already have to make the assumption that someone may be armed whenever they stop or pull them someone over,” Spraw said. “Because of that we’ll be taking the same precautions we normally do.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released a statement in June on the Concealed Carry Laws and License Application saying the new law creates two ways to carry concealed. “First, it preserves the existing system of training that results in an official concealed-carry license, in the form of a photo ID card. For the first time in Ohio history, though, the law also authorizes concealed carry without a permit. This means that any Ohioan 21 or older who is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm can carry a concealed handgun.”
He went on to say training is still a good idea. “Even though permitless carry is now legal, however, I urge any Ohioan seeking to carry concealed to take the steps necessary to get an official concealed carry license. The cost is low, the class runs only eight hours and the training in safe gun handling is invaluable.”
Guns and safety were a hot topic over the summer after the mass shooting in a Ulvade, Texas elementary school that killed 19 children and two adults. Some lawmakers worked to pass another law regarding guns allowing Ohio school boards of educations to decide on whether to let K-12 teachers carry guns in the classroom. However, local school boards must require up to 24 hours of training from teachers before they can carry firearms in the classroom.
In June, DeWine signed that legislation into law putting the decision in the hands of local school districts.