Columbus Dispatch: Gun bill appears dead 'til next year

Legislators have been tinkering for weeks with legislation to permit concealed carrying of handguns by qualified people 21 and older, but their time seems to have run out.

Yesterday evening, as members of the House left for home, Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said they wouldn't be back this year.

Even if the Senate passed a palatable version of the bill, he said, he would not call House members back to vote on it.

That would kill the bill, leaving it to be reintroduced in January, when a new legislature convenes. Householder said that was likely.

"We're sort of back where we were originally,'' he said. Key changes made by the Senate to the bill, which originated in the House, included rules that were called too stringent by some guns-rights groups.

House Republicans agreed.

Click here to read the entire Columbus Dispatch story. (subscription site - paid access only). An archived version follows. Even the Dispatch points out there is one last way for Concealed Carry Reform to be passed this session.

"They're kind of where they're at, and we're where we're at,'' Householder said.

But rumblings that another ending was possible for the gun issue could be discerned elsewhere in the halls of the Statehouse:

"It's not dead to me,'' said Sen. Jeff Jacobson, R-Vandalia, who has worked to craft a bill amenable to Gov. Bob Taft. Taft has pledged to veto it unless it is acceptable to the law-enforcement community.

A step in that direction came Tuesday, when the Fraternal Order of Police proclaimed itself neutral on the bill. The State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police remain opposed.

Jacobson said he is preparing the bill for a vote in the Senate, which will adjourn next week.

The bill's original sponsor, Rep. James Aslanides, R-Coshocton, indicated that if the Senate could pass a version the House and the governor like, the pressure would be on for Householder to recall his legislators for a vote.

But Taft wasn't disappointed when Householder called him to say the issue would be left for another time.

"This wasn't one of his priorities,'' said spokeswoman Mary Anne Sharkey.

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