Buckeye Firearms Association testifies in fourth hearing on HB 425 (Duty to Notify)

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, the House Federalism Committee again heard testimony on HB 425 (Duty to Notify) and Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) leaders testified in favor of the bill.

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 425 would modify this rule to clarify when and how to notify to avoid confusion. BFA is also hoping to amend the bill to eliminate the duty to notify entirely.

Rob Sexton, BFA's Legislative Affairs Director, argued that Ohio is out of step with the rest of the country when it comes to notifying law enforcement:

Mr. Chairman, members of the House Federalism Committee, it is my pleasure to testify in favor of House Bill 425. After observing the testimony offered last week, I will keep my remarks brief. 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 425 should not fall into that debate. House Bill 425 is attempting to address a flaw in Ohio law that entraps well meaning, and law-abiding gun owners. We’ve had 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. Taking this path puts the control of the conversation into the hands of the officer as is the case with the other factors involved in most interactions between people and law enforcement, especially traffic stops.

Thank you for your time.

BFA Sportsman Leader Larry Moore and four other proponents testified in favor of the bill. A representative from the Fraternal Order of Police testified in opposition.

Currently, 41 states have laws with no duty to notify unless specifically asked, something officers are already trained to do. If 41 of 50 states have no duty to notify, there is obviously no safety issue for law enforcement. They are trained to assume citizens may be in possession of firearms. States with no duty to notify unless specifically asked by law enforcement include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York, which have some of the strictest firearm laws in the country.

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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