BREAKING NEWS: Aslanides unveils sweeping firearms law reform bill

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Ohio concealed handgun license-holders have long-awaited an antidote for some of the poison pills the Ohio Senate and Governor Taft inserted into H.B. 12. Ohio hunters and other gun owners have long awaited an antidote for the toxic stew of local firearms ordinances and damaging case law that can entrap citizens as they move from city to city.

Buckeye Firearms Association can now exclusively report that help is finally arriving, and that it comes in the form of legislation which goes far beyond just a simple CCW "clean-up bill".

Rep. Jim Aslanides (R-Coshocton) released a preview today of legislation that will soon be introduced into the General Assembly (the preview version of the bill can be downloaded at the end of this article).

The following is a summary of the major provisions of the Bill:

1. Firearms preemption is added to address the myriad of local firearms ordinances.

2. Sweeping changes are made to car carry and transportation. Holsters are no longer required to be in plain sight for a CHL carrying in a car. Locked cases no longer need to be in plain sight.

3. Unlicensed transportation now defines “loaded” as ammunition in the gun, regardless of proximity of ammunition. (No more “bullet in the range bag” convictions!)

4. The media access loophole is addressed by allowing CHL-applicants to “opt-out” by filing an affidavit OR a government report evidencing that they have cause to fear for their safety if their information is released. (Almost the exact same as the “evidence of imminent danger” provision of the current Temporary Emergency License.)

5. Sheriffs must accept all CHL applications and renewals during normal business hours and may not require appointments.

6. Peace Officers (generally speaking, someone with a badge and a gun as part of their job not all law enforcement officers are “peace officers”) are exempted from most firearms regulations. However, the Peace Officer’s employer may specify that they are still subject to firearm regulations. This provision is also commonly referred to as “24/7” carry for Peace Officers.

7. The CHL application fee is increased to no more than $55.00, and every license or renewal obtained after the effective date of the amendment is good for 5 years.

8. The background check will include a FBI check for all applications/renewals, which will open the way for more reciprocity agreements and the potential for the Ohio CHL to count as a NICS check.

9. There is no longer a distinction between people who have lived in Ohio more than/less than 5 years.

10. An affirmative defense is explicitly stated for discharging a firearm from a vessel (boat) and the definition of “loaded” is changed to explicitly state that there must be ammunition IN the firearm for it to be considered loaded, regardless of the proximity of ammunition to the firearm.

11. BCI&I investigators are now “peace officers” under the Revised Code.

12. An affirmative defense is created to the offense of falsification of an application for people who had convictions expunged and believed that meant that the conviction did not need to be disclosed on the application.

13. Sheriffs are granted discretion to disregard sealed (“expunged”) convictions. If the Sheriff does not disregard the sealed conviction, the applicant may appeal that to the Common Pleas Court. This judge may chose to disregard the sealed conviction and have the CHL issued.

14. The penalty section of 2923.12 (concealed carry without a license) is clarified to reflect the new definition of loaded (ammunition in the firearm), and it no longer matters if ammunition was readily at hand for penalty enhancement. The firearm must be loaded i.e. ammunition in the gun for penalty enhancement.

15. Changes are made to the courthouse “gun check” provision to try and clarify the operation of this section. (No material change.)

16. All licenses are for U.S. Citizens only.

17. CHL renewals may now be made up to 90 days prior to expiration of the license through 30 days post-expiration.

18. Sheriffs are required to send renewal notices to all licensees.

19. An affirmative defense is explicitly added for discharging a firearm in self-defense from a vehicle.

20. No new crimes/felonies are created.

In summary, this bill is an extremely exciting opportunity and appears to have broad support in the General Assembly (about half of the General Assembly have already signed on as co-sponsors). This bill addresses the most important issues facing Ohio’s 60,000-plus CHL holders, and also helps hunters and other gun owners with issues they have been enduring for years.


UPDATE: Readers may find it easier to read the gun-owner specific changes in separate segments. The following files have helped us eliminate many of the conversion errors seen in the preview copy:

  • New Statewide Preemption Language.
  • New Definition of "Loaded" Firearm.
  • Changes to Car Carry Requirements.
  • Changes to Media Access Provision.
  • New Provision Prohibiting Sheriffs Requiring CHL Appointments.
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