AP: Concealed weapons bill gets first hearing since April

The Associated Press filed a very detailed CCW story very early Tuesday morning, which quoted OFCC President Jeff Garvas and provided a link to the OFCC website.

The Associated Press
12/3/02 12:22 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A bill to allow Ohioans to carry hidden guns if they pass a background check and a safety course is getting another turn in the Ohio Senate.

The Senate Civil Justice Committee has scheduled hearings for Tuesday through Thursday on Republican Rep. Jim Aslanides' bill, which the House passed in March. The Senate began hearings in April.

The hearings stopped when the state appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court a ruling declaring Ohio's concealed weapons law unconstitutional. The 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled April 10 that the state's ban violated the state Constitution's guarantee that people can arm themselves for self-defense.

The Supreme Court, however, has kept the ban in effect while it considers the case and no ruling is expected before the end of the legislative session this month, so backers urged the Senate to resume hearings.

The bill would authorize Ohio's sheriffs to issue permits to carry concealed weapons to residents who pass a criminal background check and take an approved safety course. Ohio would become the 44th state with some form of permission to carry hidden guns.

Should the Senate and House agree on the same bill, it likely would still face opposition from Gov. Bob Taft, who won't sign the bill unless it has the support of law enforcement groups. The Buckeye State Sheriff's Association supports the bill, but the Fraternal Order of Police and the State Highway Patrol -- both key to Taft's support -- oppose it.

The bill has no accountability for the owner of a car that has a person with a hidden gun as a passenger and it would create a new bureaucracy for law enforcement, Patrol spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis said.

"The other issue for us is you're talking about concealment and that's an officer safety issue," Lewis said.

Some of the bill's supporters say they will oppose any attempt to add more restrictions in the Senate to gain Taft's approval.

"We're asking the Senate to keep the bill as it passed the House," said Jeff Garvas, president of Ohioans for Concealed Carry. "Even the governor needs to realize we have a lawsuit going before the Supreme Court. ... The law already has been declared unconstitutional."

On the Net:

Ohioans for Concealed Carry: http://www.ofcc.net/

State Highway Patrol: http://www.state.oh.us/ohiostatepatrol/

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