Democrat expects little opposition to HB495, if and when Republicans decide to move the pro-gun bill
by Chad D. Baus
CentalOhio.com writer Jessica Alaimo is reporting on the various problems with Ohio gun law that would be fixed by Rep. Terry Johnnson's (R-McDermott) HB495. Her article appeared in at least nine Gannett Company-owned newspapers around the state between May 26 and 29 under various headlines.
From the article:
If an Ohio concealed-carry permit holder drives to Pennsylvania and gets out of the car with a weapon, he's breaking the law. Or vice versa.
If a sportsman preloads his rifle magazines and then drives to the shooting range with the matching weapon, he's also breaking the law.
These are issues state Rep. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, is trying to address in House Bill 495, which is in front of the Ohio House State Government and Elections Committee.
Ohio honors concealed-carry permits from 23 other states. Ohio permits are honored in 26 other states.
The Attorney General's office has the authority to grant reciprocity between states, and does so when the laws have similar requirements for background checks and training, said Jonathan Fulkerson, section chief of the Health and Human Services division for the attorney general.
People from states with permits now honored in Ohio can transport their weapon in a car, "but you have to follow our law and our rules," Fulkerson said.
Johnson's bill also changes the definition of a "loaded firearm in a vehicle." Currently, if a magazine is loaded and the matching weapon is in the vehicle, it's considered loaded, and thus illegal. The bill proposes that the magazine must be inserted into the weapon for it to be considered loaded.
This creates a problem for shooting ranges. It takes considerable time to load the magazines, and current law won't allow people to load them at home before going to the range, said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.
The bill also addresses a problem with current Ohio law, which requires concealed handgun license-holders to "demonstrate competency" before they can apply for their third license. Currently, there is no definition in Ohio law for "demonstrate competency," nor is there any related class by either the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) or the National Rifle Association (NRA) that is designed to fulfill this requirement. HB495 would make Ohio's CHL law like a driver's license, where a current or expired license serves as proof that you have (where required) completed required training.
While the article contains the typical sky-is-falling rhetoric from Toby Hoover, who fronts what often appears to be a one-woman show at the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, even Democrats aren't expected to have any concerns:
A spokesman for state Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, who sits on the committee considering the bill, said there likely will be little opposition to the bill from Democrats on the committee. Irvine doesn't expect much either.
"My hope is that this is one of those bills that even people who aren't gun people will see that it's really about fixing problems in the law," Irvine said. "I don't see anything in it that's controversial."
Despite its non-controversial nature and the lack of strong opposition, and despite the looming "demonstrate competency" deadline that will begin affecting CHL-holders in 2013, Republicans have failed to move the bill, which was introduced in March.
In fact, last week was intended to be the final session until after the fall elections, which would mean that any action on the bill would have to occur during a lame duck session late this year, and mean that the "demonstrate competency" fix would not be implemented in time to prevent problems in the opening weeks of 2013. However, legislators were unable to complete work on all of the bills they were hoping to pass last week, and thus have scheduled another day or two of session in early June. Whether or not the bill will be given the votes it deserves before the election remains to be seen.
Call your State Representative today and request that they act on HB495 before they recess for the summer!
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.
UPDATE 5/31/12 11:15 a.m. - HB495 (Reciprocity & Concealed Carry Modernization) scheduled for hearing in House