HB347 a nice start to CCW Cleanup
By Chad D. Baus
When HB347 was first introduced in September 2005, the Ohio media gave almost total focus on a provision which sought to limit journalist access to CHL-holder records. Once that provision was removed and placed in another piece of legislation, very little time was spent by the media to inform Ohioans about the many other improvements to Ohio law contained in HB347. Although it had been in HB347 since the day it was introduced, the provision initiating statewide preemption of local gun control laws only received attention from the media and governor's office on the eve of its final passage.
Now that the dust has settled on the veto battle over preemption, and now that the media have taken a break from publishing the biased sky-is-falling stories on preemption, it is time to take a look at some of the other improvements to Ohio law that CHL-holders will enjoy when the law becomes effective in March.
Following is a list of some of the ways in which HB347 will improve life for Ohio gun-owners, sportsmen and CHL-holders.
- "Sec. 9.68. (A) The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition." (emphasis added)
- One of the most egregious provisions inserted into HB12 (the bill which became Ohio's concealed handgun license (CHL) law in 2004) to appease then-Governor Bob Taft was a provision which required Ohio CHL-holders to carry their firearms in "plain sight" in a motor vehicle. Lack of a definition of what consituted "plain sight" led to a great deal of confusion, both on the part of CHL-holders and the law enforcement officers tasked with enforcing it. Additionally, under HB12, motorcycle riders with CHLs are required to carry their firearms in holsters that are in plain sight, or else have them locked away in a saddle bag that is in plain sight.
As of the effective date of HB347, it will no longer a requirement that a pistol in a holster on the person or in a locked case be in plain sight.
- When attempting to exercise their self-defense rights in a motor vehicle, Ohio's female CHL-holders have been forced to endure additional headaches under current law, because few if any purses fit the requirements of the law.
As of the effective date of HB347, CHL-holders may now carry in an unlocked closed purse or bag so long as the purse or bag is in "plain sight".
- Because current law was not specific, several Ohio Sheriffs implemented extremely limited appointment hours to accept CHL applications, making it inconvenient (or next to impossible in some counties) for applications to be submitted. This not only served to artificially suppress the total number of applications, but ignored the intent of the General Assembly with regard to the temporary emergency license (TEL).
As of the effective date of HB347, Sheriffs must accept applications for CHLs at least 15 hours per week, and post the hours. Additionally, Sheriffs must accept all TEL applications and renewals during normal business hours and may not require appointments.
- - Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) issued under the new law are good for 5 years versus 4 years under current law. The application fee increases to $55 (overall cost per year reduced by a quarter dollar a year). There is no longer a distinction between people who have lived in Ohio more than/less than 5 years.
- CHL-holders may apply to renew their licenses up to 90 days prior to, or 30 days after, expiration.
There are many more reasons for which to anticipate the effective date of HB347 (March 14, 2007) than just the statewide preemption of local gun control laws. Keep an eye on the Countdown Clock on the top right-hand corner of our homepage, www.buckeyefirearms.org.