Weapons policy mandated to change

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Health must amend the health department’s weapons policy to match a change in the Ohio Revised Code.

Robert A. Sproul, deputy health commissioner, informed the board of a need to update its employee policy handbook. The Ohio General Assembly amended the state code’s provisions for transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition. The amendment became effective on Sept. 29.

Sproul said, “The new law states that if you have a concealed carry permit, you can have a firearm on the premises in your vehicle as long as the firearm is secured in a container and the vehicle is locked.”

Under the department’s current policy, weapons are not allowed on the premises.

He said, “The old language mirrors the old Ohio Revised Code language.

It allowed employers to ban weapons from the premises and discipline employees even if the weapon was stored in a personal vehicle.”

He added, “The new language will be very similar to the new Ohio Revised Code language and will be ready for the next board meeting for their approval.”

Regarding the formality of the action, Sproul explained, “All of our policies must be approved by the board, even if they are required by law.”

The board of health’s next meeting is scheduled for noon Nov. 13 at the health department’s office on Bannock Road.

The Ohio Revised Code’s new section states that “a business entity, property owner or public or private employer may not establish, maintain or enforce a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person who has been issued a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition.”

However, the new law states that two conditions must be met:

∫ “Each firearm and all of the ammunition remains inside the person’s privately owned motor vehicle while the person is physically present inside the motor vehicle, or each firearm and all of the ammunition is locked within the trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment or container within or on the person’s privately-owned motor vehicle; and

“The vehicle is in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.”