AP: Taft says concealed carry veto likely

UPDATE: The original AP story announcing Taft's new veto threat came at 9:58 p.m. The below contains updates.

The Associated Press
12/11/2003, 3:27 a.m. ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The latest months-long struggle to allow Ohioans to carry concealed weapons has made it Gov. Bob Taft's desk, only to face a veto and an uncertain future.

Ohioans could carry concealed weapons after passing a background check and completing safety training under a bill approved by House and Senate lawmakers late Wednesday.

Taft, a Republican, immediately said he would veto the bill out of concerns over public records.

It was the first time state lawmakers in both chambers have sent a bill to the governor that would allow Ohioans to carry a concealed weapons.

The House approved the bill 69-27 just minutes after the Senate approved it 25-8.

The bill means Ohioans "can have the opportunity to defend themselves against attack" while becoming trained in the proper use of firearms, said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Aslanides, a Coshocton Republican.

Sen. Eric Fingerhut, a Cleveland Democrat, said the bill would lead to violent confrontations and the potential of children hurting themselves by finding guns in a permit holder's jacket or purse.

He called people who would walk down the street with a loaded weapon "nuts" and said the bill takes away his right of knowing who to avoid. "I don't want to be anywhere near you," Fingerhut said.

For some Republicans, the bill didn't go far enough. Rep. Ron Young of Painesville opposed the bill because it had too many restrictions.

"This is a gun control bill, not a gun rights bill," Young said.

Taft said he would veto the bill after pushing unsuccessfully for reporters to have access to the names of all permit holders in a county.

Instead, the bill would give reporters access to limited public records on a name-by-name basis.

"We got very close to a bill the governor could accept, all the public safety provisions were agreeable to the governor," said spokesman Orest Holubec. "But the public records provision as passed by the conference committee is too limiting."

House Speaker Larry Householder said he believed he had the votes to override a veto. Senate President Doug White said he did not have enough override votes.

Householder, a Glenford Republican, said he was willing to risk a veto over the issue.

"We feel pretty seriously about this bill and I don't know if we'll lose any votes if we come up for an override," he said.

White said it was time to pass a bill regardless of Taft's position.

"You can only whittle and spit so long," said White, a Manchester Republican. "You make a deal or you walk away."

Forty-five other states have some version of a concealed carry law, according to House Republicans.

The bill removes a current provision of law that allows people arrested for carrying a hidden gun to prove to prosecutors or a judge that the practice is essential for safety reasons.

That provision is known as an affirmative defense.

Instead, people who fear for their lives could receive an emergency 90-day permit after undergoing a background check and signing an affidavit saying they believed they were in danger.

In addition, people without a permit could carry a concealed weapon on their own property and still use the affirmative defense. That exception is aimed at large property owners, such as farmers.

The bill settles an issue over carrying a concealed weapon in a car by requiring a permit holder to carry the weapon in plain sight or keep it in a locked container.

A person carrying a gun in a holster under a jacket, for example, would have to take his jacket off in the car.

Related Stories: You've known it all along: If the public records issue is made to Taft's liking, will he...?

So have we - December 30, 2002: Out of the Closet: Taft 100% opposed to true Concealed Carry Reform "There is no reason even to consult with the Governor's office on new versions of the bill - Gov. Taft has made it clear he is not willing to support a concealed carry reform bill that contains even the smallest amount of reform."

Now even Senator White knows it:
- Sen. White's latest survey reveals ''ability to override a veto'' on HB12 - Senator White announces conceptual agreement with Speaker on Taft's latest ploy

'Defense' Walkers and the family of Tony Gordon know it: Governor's Mansion Defense Walk: ''No Wonder He Doesn't Care''

House Representatives know it: Op-Ed: Events erode the willingness of legislators to work with governor

The entire General Assembly knows it: Legislature finally ready to override Taft veto" - but on HB12? "Past excuses offered by a few Senators over reluctance to override a governor of their own party no longer apply. If everyone who voted for HB12 the first time remains true to their vote, veto override is assurred."

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