Employers can no longer forbid workers from bringing guns on company property if the weapons remain locked in vehicles under a new law that took effect Tuesday.
Meanwhile, ticketing drivers for going through red lights just got more complicated under a separate law that took effect Tuesday — though that’s an issue lawmakers hope to address soon.
Since Ohio’s concealed-carry law took effect in 2004, private business owners have had the ability to determine whether employees or customers could carry guns on the premises, including parking lots.
As part of the latest law relaxing restrictions on carrying guns in Ohio, public and private employers can no longer ban a person with a valid concealed-carry license from storing a gun in the person’s vehicle.
“This is important,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “Previously, if a business bans guns at work, including parking lots, employees are essentially banned from having their firearm all day, and are defenseless from the time they leave home in the morning until they return home in the evening.”
Business groups generally opposed the provision, arguing that business owners should retain the right to control what is permitted on their properties.
Under Senate Bill 199, Tuesday also was the first day that guns can be carried on college campuses and in day-care centers, if trustees or center owners choose to allow them.
Officials from the Inter-University Council of Ohio and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges said they were unaware of any institutions allowing guns on campus.
The Ohio State Board of Trustees is not considering a change to its gun policy, said spokesman Chris Davey.
Rieck said he wasn’t expecting universities to act quickly on the matter.
The gun bill also allows concealed-handgun licensees to carry guns in non-secure areas of airports and on private aircraft. In addition, active military members with weapons training can now carry a concealed handgun without a license.
Lawmakers already are working to fix a second law that took effect Tuesday — one that law-enforcement officials worry will allow drivers to go through red lights as if they were stop signs if the light doesn’t change quickly enough.
The new law was designed to allow drivers to go through a red light if the signal fails to detect a vehicle and activate a light change. Problem is, a driver can’t be certain if the light is functioning or not, so, as written, so it essentially allows people to disregard the light after an undetermined period of time.
Columbus Police Sgt. Nick Konves told lawmakers in February that it “makes enforcement and prosecution very difficult and nearly impossible.”
The House moved quickly to fix the issue, passing a bill a month ago to reverse the law for vehicles — leaving only bicyclists the ability to go through an inactivated light. The provision also is part of the state transportation budget bill that is expected to see Senate action this week.
The bill that took effect today also includes a provision requiring a vehicle passing a bicycle to give at least 3 feet of clearance.
“For years, Ohio has suffered an unacceptable and avoidable number of bicycling injuries and fatalities on our roadways,” said Jennifer Miller, director of the Sierra Club’s Ohio Chapter, adding that Ohio is joining 26 states in enacting a 3-foot rule.
Source: Canton Rep