Buckeye Firearms Association Testifies in Favor of HB 89 to Abolish Duty to Inform

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the House State and Local Government Committee heard testimony on House Bill 89 to repeal the "duty to inform."

Current law states that if you have a concealed handgun license (CHL) and are carrying a handgun, you must "promptly" notify a law enforcement officer who stops you for any official purpose. But when is "promptly"? This is confusing and can lead to misunderstandings during encounters with law enforcement.

As introduced, HB 89 would modify this rule to clarify when and how to notify to avoid confusion. In short, you would simply need to show your CHL if asked and state that you are carrying a handgun. The bill would also eliminate the penalty for violating the duty to notify.

Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) supports this bill and urges the committee to take swift action.

Here is the testimony presented by Rob Sexton, BFA's Legislative Affairs Director:

Testimony of Rob Sexton
in Support of House Bill 89
on behalf of Buckeye Firearms Association
March 3rd, 2021

Mr. Chairman, members of the House State and Local Government Committee, it is my pleasure to testify in favor of House Bill 89. My remarks today are brief, because the subject matter involved is straight forward and uncomplicated. There’s a lot of debate about differing ways to provide gun owners the rights they’re entitled to under our constitution. There are a lot of differing views on how to get that done.

House Bill 89 does not fall into that debate. House Bill 89 simply addresses a flaw in Ohio law that entraps well meaning, and law-abiding gun owners. The House passed this same bill last General Assembly. Over the course of hearings in both the House and the Senate last year, we heard lots of testimony providing real life experiences where the arbitrary meaning of the word promptly has led to differing interpretations of the law. As a result, the law has failed gun owners, who are a group of people who take the law very seriously.

We know that Ohio’s Duty to Notify law is out of step with the rest of the country, with 41 states addressing this issue better than we do here. The current law on this subject, is simply bad law that does not well serve gun owners or law enforcement.

Removing the duty to inform is the simplest path to this goal. It puts control of the conversation into the hands of the officer as is the case with most interactions between people and law enforcement, during traffic stops. This approach overwhelmingly makes the most sense. Being stopped by the police for speeding is a somewhat traumatic and rare experience. Being in a fender bender or a more serious accident is even more so. For people involved in one of these incidents, there may be many things going on that would contribute to their failure to “promptly notify” an officer on the scene, none of those being any criminal intent.

A law enforcement officer, on the other hand, deals with these situations on a regular basis and they’re used to a protocol of needed information they must seek in various interactions with the public. House Bill 89 would ensure the officer receives the information they need by putting them in control.

Current law puts law abiding gun owners in legal jeopardy. Removing the Duty to Notify solves this problem without any legitimate safety concern. The experiences of 41 other states should give this General Assembly the confidence to finally update this flawed law.

Thank you for your time.

BFA's Sean Maloney and John Weber with NRA-ILA also testified. You can read all testimony here.

Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.

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