Recent Changes to Ohio’s Conceal Carry Statute Restrict Employer Policies Regarding the Storage of a Firearm in a Locked Vehicle

By Stephen M. Bales

Effective March 19, 2017, Ohio Revised Code 2923.1210 goes into effect. The new statute provides in pertinent part:

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 when both of the following conditions are met:

(1) 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;

(2) The vehicle is in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.

If an employee keeps her firearm and ammunition locked within a trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment or container within her vehicle, an employer may not take any adverse employment action against her for bringing her firearm or ammunition on to her employer's property.

To the extent that your existing employment policies prohibit firearms in employees' locked personal vehicles, those policies must be amended to be consistent with the new statute prior to March 19, 2017. The new statute applies only to those employees with valid concealed carry licenses (and those employees who are excluded from the licensing requirements). Employees who do not have concealed carry licenses or are not exempt from the licensing requirements may be prohibited from carrying or storing firearms in their vehicles. In addition, this statute does not change Ohio law with respect to an employer's policies for allowing firearms on the premises. Each employer may choose to allow or prohibit the carrying of firearms on company premises. Many business groups throughout Ohio supported this legislation given the strict requirements for obtaining an individual concealed carry license. Other business groups oppose the legislation.

We would be happy to address any questions or other concerns that you may have about this new law.