Coalition of Gun Rights Groups Applauds House Passage of Concealed Handgun Bill

Ohioans for Concealed Carry has issued a press release, applauding the House's 69-28 passage of HB12.

Cleveland, March 12, 2003 - Ohioans For Concealed Carry (OFCC) and The Second Amendment Sisters (SAS) announced today that they are pleased with action in the Ohio House of Representatives.

"Members of the House debated this issue long enough. Years of detailed testimony have proven 43 states have implemented reform without incident, and lawmakers realized this," said Jeff Garvas, president of OFCC.

Ohio is one of only seven states that do not have a legal mechanism for law-abiding adults to carry a firearm for self-defense. Every state surrounding Ohio passed concealed carry laws with fewer restrictions on license holders than what the Ohio House has proposed.

"This is definitely a step in the right direction," stated Juli Bednarzyk, President of Second Amendment Sisters. "Self-defense is a basic human right, and it's time that Ohio joins the ranks of states that recognize that citizens are their own 'first line' of self-defense."

OFCC is a co-plaintiff in the concealed carry lawsuit scheduled for oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court on April 15th. The state and other defendants are appealing a unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel of the Ohio First District Court of Appeals declaring current law as unconstitutional on many grounds.

House Bill 12 sponsor, Representative Jim Aslanides, stated lawmakers should come up with a bill that would be acceptable to the court and not worry so much about a veto from Taft. "We encourage both the House and Senate to keep this in mind as the legislation is considered and we are committed to helping solve the constitutional concerns," said Gregory Kopp, Secretary of OFCC.

The Buckeye State Sheriffs Association and many local Fraternal Order of Police lodges support the legislation. But Governor Bob Taft has vowed to veto any bill that does not have the support of some law enforcement labor unions. The Ohio State Highway Patrol opposes the legislation because it would allow license holders to keep loaded weapons in cars, falsely claiming it compromises the safety of their officers.

"We urge lawmakers to look at the evidence as presented from surrounding states," said Garvas. "Indiana, where concealed carry has been the law for decades, has not seen it to be a problem."

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