Gun Laws

With hunting season upon us, it’s not unusual to see citizens carrying firearms. The recent concealed carry law has also made it legal for citizens to arm themselves virtually at all times.

Americans embrace their Constitutional rights. The right to bear arms is protected under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and we stand behind responsible individuals’ rights to protect themselves and exercise their rights.

Ohio concealed carry law his putting guns in the possession of more people in the public, which in itself has raised debate. Little noise was made, however, when changes were made to Ohio’s concealed handgun licensure law this fall, making it possible for some individuals with criminal records to obtain a concealed carry permit.

These changes went into effect Sept. 30. Under the Ohio Revised Code for handgun licensure, certain persons who have prior criminal records may be eligible to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun or legally purchase a firearm.

The law deals with expungement of records after a criminal conviction. The law states that a criminal conviction is a public record unless a court determines that the record should be expunged. If a criminal record is expunged by a court, it cannot be used to disqualify an individual from owning a firearm or from having a concealed handgun license under certain circumstances.

Only a court can expunge a conviction and criminal records cannot be expunged for everyone, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office notes.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said the state office cannot give legal advice as to how to expunge a criminal conviction. Those who have questions about eligibility to expunge a criminal record should consult an attorney, he advised.

This puts another serious responsibility in the hands of judicial officials on the local level. Judges must take this into consideration each and every time an individual seeks expungement of a criminal record.

It must also be taken into consideration what gun advocates have always stressed: Law abiding citizens who are armed aren’t the individuals who should be the source of any concern.

Those who break the law are the ones to fear. Criminals won’t bother to obtain a concealed carry permit, and those with a criminal past who aren’t truly reformed won’t likely bother to hire an attorney and seek expungement of their criminal records to enjoy the personal freedoms that the rest of us do.