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AURORA -- Those wanting to bring firearms into city halls in Aurora and Streetsboro since new state rules on carrying concealed weapons took effect last week are going to be disappointed.
Although the terms of Senate Bill 199, which took effect March 21, permit cities to allow firearms in government buildings, officials in Aurora and Streetsboro are not interested in changing the existing ban on guns inside city buildings.
Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin, a former state representative who said, generally, she is in favor of Ohio's concealed carry law, doesn't want firearms at Town Hall.
"I have no plans to change the existing prohibitions," she said.
Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska deferred to Police Chief Darin Powers' judgment on the matter.
"I'm on both sides of the issue," said Powers. "I see it from a personal side and the police department side. For me, I would just leave well enough alone."
If City Council takes no action to change it, the ban on firearms in city buildings will stay in place, Powers said.
According to an analysis of the law by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, it allows "the governing body with authority over the building to enact a statute, ordinance or policy that permits a licensee to carry a concealed handgun into the building."
Similarly, day-care centers are no longer automatically off limits to carriers of concealed handguns. The law requires owners of such businesses to post signs prohibiting firearms on premises.
Meanwhile, Aurora schools Superintendent Pat Ciccantelli said he needs to research the law more thoroughly before discussing its impact on the school district.
According to Streetsboro schools Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh, the change allows gun owners to leave their weapons in locked cars on school property.
"My understanding is, the only change in the provision of the law is to permit concealed carry weapons permit holders to lock their guns in their cars," he said.
In most cases, people with concealed handgun licenses cannot take firearms into schools or to school activities outdoors, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
According to an analysis of the bill by the Legislative Service Commission, it "exempts a person from the prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun in a school safety zone if the person has a concealed handgun license or is a qualifying military member, leaves the handgun in the motor vehicle and if the person exiting the motor vehicle locks the door."
According to bill analysis, the firearm must be locked in the car and in the "trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment or container" while the owner is away from the vehicle.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, a "school safety zone consists of a school, school building, school premises, school activity and school bus."
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