AP: Taft flip-flops, says he will veto HB347 over preemption clause

The Associated Press is reporting that Republican Bob Taft, one of the most unpopular governors in Buckeye State history, may veto HB347, which was passed overwhelmingly by members of his party, along with many pro-gun Democrats, on November 29.

From the story:

    Taft's objection to overriding local gun laws has been clear for months, spokesman Mark Rickel said, citing as an example Columbus' assault weapons ban.

    If the legislation comes to the governor, "the bill would be vetoed," Rickel said.

Contrary to the assertions of his spokesperson, we are unaware of any previous objections to the preemption statute having been voiced by Taft. In fact, just yesterday, this same Taft spokesman offered no insight to reporters into whether the governor would support the revised measure.

"It has not been a priority for the governor at this point," Rickel told the Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, when asked by legislators and pro-gun groups for his stance on the bill, Taft gave no indication that he would veto the bill. Furthermore, in the weeks before passage of the bill in the House last Spring, Taft made no mention of preemption when he threatened to veto HB347 if it allowed concealed carry in cars or changed the media access loophole.

Acting in good faith, lawmakers from his party removed the media access loophole provision before the bill left the House in March, and worked with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to remove their objection to allowing concealed carry in cars.

Click on ‘Read More’ the entire story.

Again, from the AP story:

    Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said it would be a mistake for Taft to veto the bill.

    "Think of a driver's license or all of the things that the state issues a license for," Irvine said. "The license has to be valid wherever you go. Same thing with a [CHL]."

This bill simply reaffirms that firearms laws should be uniform throughout Ohio. Firearms are regulated on a federal level and a state level. There is no benefit to society from the local regulations that this bill supersedes.

Local regulations for firearms are nothing more than toothless "feel good" legislation, or vainly hidden attempts to harass the law abiding gun owner. They have nothing to do with stopping, arresting, prosecuting, fining, or incarcerating criminals.

Municipalities only have power to punish criminal acts as misdemeanors. The Ohio legislature has consistently made criminal acts, and even some accidental movements with regard to firearms, into felonies.

The last three years have proven that the Concealed Handgun License is an asset to society and police, not the threat that those opposed to these laws promised it would be. This bill will not change who can get a license to carry a handgun, or the required training, or the places a licensed individual may carry.

As a final act of respect to the Ohio General Assembly, the many legislators in his party, and gun owners throughout the state, Bob Taft must rise above the emotion and rhetoric. There are no stories of license holders killing people in city parks, or fighting over parking spaces, or road rage. There has been no "blood in the streets" or "wild west shootouts”, etc. In short, we were right, and they were wrong. The same is true of this legislation, and it deserves to signed into law.

Please contact Governor Taft today by phone at (614) 466-3555 and (614) 644-HELP or via email by visiting http://governor.ohio.gov/contactinfopage.asp and respectfully urge him to sign this important bill and to defend your Right to Keep and Bear arms.

Exerpts from other media coverage of yesterday's events:

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Taft vows to veto bill ending local laws on concealed weapons

Sen. Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican, said licensed gun owners shouldn't have to worry about whether they are breaking the law just because they drive from one town into another that might have different gun rules.

"It just makes a whole lot more sense," he said of the bill.
Even before Taft announced his plans to veto the bill, Senate President Bill Harris, an Ashland Republican, said the legislature has enough votes to override the governor.

Harris said the legislature forged ahead without Republican Taft because leaders had struck a compromise with police organizations, namely the State Highway Patrol, over the removal of the "plain sight" provision.

Columbus Dispatch: Taft veto awaits gun-law revisions

Bill supporters, including the National Rifle Association, argued that concealed-weapons permit holders can’t be expected to know potentially hundreds of local gun laws as they drive from one town to another.

"I’m appalled and surprised," said Rep. James Aslanides, R-Coshocton, the bill sponsor who said he was not aware that Taft planned to veto the bill. Supporters already had overcome one major hurdle, reaching an agreement with the State Highway Patrol on how guns could be carried in vehicles.
Legislative leaders are not talking yet about a veto override, which would require a three-fifths affirmative vote: 60 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate. The bill passed the House 74-14 and the Senate 19-10 yesterday, though four Democratic senators were not present for the latter vote.

Harris hopes it will not come to a veto, a spokeswoman said. Husted said he would not speculate on what Taft or the House would do "until I’ve had a conversation with him."

"I respect the governor’s concerns about this and look forward to trying to talk through them with him and see if we can satisfy everybody’s concerns," Husted said.

Taft could support a state pre-emption of local gun laws if it applied only to concealedcarry laws, Allison said.
John Hohenwarter, a regional representative of the NRA, said the bill would move Ohio in the same direction as several other states that have made firearms regulation a state-level issue.

"You can’t have a patchwork of laws that no one can keep track of, let alone comply with," he said. "It’s common sense legislation."
...Unlike some bills that Republicans hope to pass before they could be blocked by Democratic Gov.-elect Ted Strickland, this one is more acceptable to Strickland than to Taft.

"In fact, I wrote a letter to the Senate several months ago suggesting that they move forward, as they apparently are doing now," Strickland said...

Toledo Blade: Legislation opposed by Taft would kill Toledo measures

“We’re not a city state,” said Sen. Tim Grendell (R., Chester-land). “We’re the state of Ohio, where the constitution applies to every resident. You don’t give up a right when you cross a municipal boundary ... We do not violate home-rule when we pass legislation that supports and reaffirms rights granted by the constitution.”
“This is all about helping law-abiding citizens to comply with the law and enjoy their constitutional right,” said Sen. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana).
Jim Irvine, of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said he believes Toledo misinterpreted the current concealed-carry law when it successfully prosecuted Bruce Beatty for carrying a concealed 45-caliber handgun into Ottawa Park in West Toledo. The conviction, the result of a stunt to mark the one-year anniversary of the concealed-carry law, was upheld by the Toledo-based 6th District Court of Appeals and is being appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

“Any state-owned building is prohibited for a license-holder to carry, like the Statehouse building or rest areas, but they can’t do it for property,” he said. “Buildings can be posted. Property cannot be posted.”

“What we have found since passage of concealed carry is that the number of instances where a gun was used successfully to defend one’s self or used carelessly has been minimal,” said Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre. “There isn’t enough data for anyone to reach any objective opinion as to whether the law has been successful or not.

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