Columbus Dispatch: Hot-issue CCW bill may die this session

Senate President Finan and Committee Chairman Jacobson have had since March to deal with this legislation, but chose to play politics, possibly to protect Governor Taft's re-election efforts.

Now, according to this Columbus Dispatch story (subscription site - paid access only) they complain that they're out of time. But even at this eleventh hour, they have the time to pass HB274 as was passed by the House, and put the bill on Taft's desk.

A complete archive of the story follows.

Call these Senators NOW and demand that they finish their job TODAY by passing HB274 as-is.

Sen Pres Finan (614) 466-9737
Sen Jacobson, Cmte Chair (614) 466-4538
David Goodman (614) 466-8064
Louis Blessing (614) 466-8068
Steve Austria (614) 466-3780
Ben Espy (614) 466-5131
Ron Amstutz (614) 466-7505
Eric Fingerhut (614) 466-4583
Leigh Herington (614) 466-7041
Jay Hottinger (614) 466-5838
Gov. Taft: (614) 466-3555

A bill that would permit Ohioans to carry concealed weapons is hanging by a thread in the state legislature as the two-year session nears a conclusion.

As a long legislative day ended at 8 p.m. yesterday, Republican Senate and House leaders were at odds over whether to try to resolve yawning differences on the proposal.

A Senate committee put off until next week a vote on House Bill 274, authorizing sheriffs to issue permits to qualified Ohioans over 21 to carry concealed handguns in most public places. Meanwhile, Gov. Bob Taft continued to talk with law-enforcement groups about their concerns and tried to get some of his own ideas put into the bill.

Senate President Richard H. Finan, R-Cincinnati, said the Senate will be back next week to finish business for the year. He said he hopes the concealed-weapons bill will be among the completed items.

But House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, indicated his 59-member caucus is not interested in returning next week to grapple with the Senate over the issue.

"After Friday, we're out of here,'' he said. "We've got quite a few members who are not going to be here (next week).''

Sen. Jeff Jacobson, R-Vandalia, said: "We're working with all the parties that are interested in working with us to get an acceptable bill.''

Jacobson was put in charge of designing a bill that would satisfy law-enforcement groups and the governor.

But Householder just shrugged when reporters suggested the gun bill might die if the House doesn't come back next week.

"Our members aren't thrilled to death about it anyway,'' he said. "We don't have a lot of support for that (Senate version of the) bill. I can't help that they've had the bill six months or more and all of a sudden the light bulb goes on in their heads and they've got to pass it.''

Joe Andrews, a spokesman for Taft, said the governor is still sorting out the preferences of law-enforcement groups and making some requests of his own before he decides whether to accept a concealed-weapons bill.

"He still wants to see how it's going to come out before he determines whether or not he's going to sign it,'' Andrews said.

Taft met Michael Taylor of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and was told that the union representing 24,000 police officers will remain neutral on the revised Senate version of the bill, Andrews said.

But Andrews said Taylor told Taft he is "comfortable'' with changes the governor has proposed, including further restrictions on where concealed guns can be carried, increasing the penalty for carrying without a permit, upgrading the requirements to renew a permit and ensuring that permit-holders are mentally competent.

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