Dr. Terry Johnson, Ohio State Senator representing District 14, has long been a proponent of restoring Second Amendment rights in Ohio. He served over 20 years in the Ohio National Guard, attaining the rank of Colonel. Dr. Johnson first served in the Ohio House, and now serves in the Senate.
I was able to speak with Dr. Johnson about the effort to pass Constitutional Carry in Ohio.
Dr. Johnson has had several achievements in Ohio politics. He says he is more concerned with obtaining results than with receiving credit.
Some of his efforts have included; shifting the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the accused to the prosecutors; restaurant carry; removing the “duty to retreat” from Ohio self-defense law; and statewide pre-emption for Ohio firearms law. Dr. Johnson:
“Removing infringements to the Second Amendment is one of my primary legislative mantras. It is what has to be done, in my idea, to regain respect for the federal government and the state government for the average citizen. “
Early in his career, Dr. Johnson said he threatened the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) that he would pass a law if they would not come to the table with a rule change to allow the hunting of deer with a rifle. It took about a year, but they made the rule change.
The current issue is the passage of Constitutional Carry (permitless carry) in Ohio. Dr. Johnson has long been a proponent of Constitutional Carry. There are two Constitutional Carry bills in play, HB 227 and SB 215. Dr. Johnson is the author of SB 215. Speaking of the two bills, Dr. Johnson:
“What we really want to accomplish is getting Constitutional Carry or permitless carry done in Ohio. I would personally vote for either one.”
Dr. Johnson prefers his own bill. He thinks it could have a better chance of being enacted into law. Speaking of SB 215 Dr. Johnson said:
“Mine is remarkably simple. My bill doesn’t change hardly anything in Ohio’s concealed carry legislation. That means it is a lot shorter, as far as how many words are involved, and how many pages and the complexity. The only thing that really changes is that it says, now you don’t have to have your concealed carry license on your person, which is huge, and it goes into the duty to inform portion, also. “
If SB 215 becomes law:
“Any place you can currently carry with a concealed carry license, you can now carry without a concealed carry license.”
Dr. Johnson said knowledgeable people believed taking out the immunity portion made the bill more palatable to the Governor, and more likely to pass the House. Dr. Johnson agreed to remove the immunity hearing portions of SB 215 to give it a better chance with the Governor, and aid in passage in the House.
“Just talking about mine, taking out the immunity portion, kind of greased the skids to get it through the house.”
SB 215 removes the duty to inform an officer if you are armed, which now exists in Ohio law. In SB215, an armed individual is only required to inform an officer if they are asked. Once one officer is answered, it is not required that all officers at the scene be informed. One is sufficient.
Dr. Johnson has worked to build relationships in the Ohio legislature to bring about the removal, part by part, of numerous infringements on Second Amendment rights.
Dr. Johnson knows Legislative reform of firearms law requires a team effort. One legislator can make a lot of noise, but it takes cooperative effort to get bills passed. Dr. Johnson says he did a lot of work on the restaurant carry bill when he was a member of the House.
When restaurant carry finally passed, it wasn’t his bill. Dr. Johnson said he was very pleased it passed even though he did not have his name on it.
Most bills in most legislatures are written by advocacy groups or lobbyists.
Dr. Johnson is unusual. He writes his own bills, and has Senate attorneys look them over:
” Another interesting thing about my bill: I wrote it. ” It takes away the argument that “you’re just a shill for the gun groups.”
“I like to write my own bills.”
Dr. Johnson used the experience of other Constitutional Carry states when promoting his bill on the floor of the Senate:
“21 states have now passed this sort of legislation.”
“If people are saying, this sort of legislation will cause blood in the streets and pandemonium and chaos, well that’s just not so. Look at the states that have done it.”
“Two of those states which have it are contiguous to Ohio, they are our neighbors, West Virginia and Kentucky. “
Dr. Terry Johnson, Senator of District 14 in Ohio, knows the infringements on the Second Amendment rights cannot all be removed at once. His actions show he gets results. Much of what happens now depends on the leadership in the House and the actions of the governor.
Dr. Johnson told me that action on his bill ( he would only speculate about his own bill) could happen in mid-January because very little would happen over the holidays.
“The legislature basically is in neutral between now and mid-January. So nothing is going to happen until then.” “If my bill is going to be the one which moves, I would expect it to move in the House some time about mid-January. If we are going to be successful, I expect it to move before the spring primary, which is in May.”
Legislators like Dr. Johnson are how Constitutional Carry (permitless carry) has advanced and been implemented in 21 states. Ohio has a good chance of becoming number 22.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.