Dispatch: ''Gun bill in Senate; Taft vows veto''

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that "a bill that would erase Columbus' assault-weapons ban passed the Ohio House yesterday, but Gov. Bob Taft still is poised to veto it over provisions on how people carry guns in vehicles."

From the story:

The bill, which makes a number of changes to Ohio's nearly 2-year-old law that allows residents to carry concealed handguns, would no longer permit local governments to pass gun laws that go beyond the restrictions set by state lawmakers.

Columbus officials approved an assault-weapons ban last summer. But under the House bill, cities also would be unable to ban guns from parks or other places not already designated as gun-free zones in state law.

Rep. James Aslanides, a Coshocton Republican and sponsor of the bill, said it's unreasonable to expect someone with a gun permit to be aware of various gun laws every time he or she enters a different town. People deserve to be treated the same under one consistent law, he said before the bill was passed, 76-19. It now goes to the Senate.

The article goes on to report that in this election year, it will once again be Republican Bob Taft who plans to stand in the way of common-sense reforms for law-abiding Ohioans.

The article goes on to report that House Speaker Jon A. Husted, R-Kettering, expressed surprise that the Democrats barely uttered a peep about the legislation.

"I guess we're all smart now that their governor candidate agrees with us on these issues," Husted told the Dispatch, referring to Democrat Ted Strickland, a gun-rights supporter.

Again, from the story:

For the bill to become law, it's Republican Taft, not the Democrats, who offers the biggest obstacle.

Just as he did during the last gun-bill debate more than two years ago, Taft continues to threaten a veto of any bill that is opposed by any major law-enforcement organization.

Current law requires that a permit holder in a vehicle either lock the gun away or carry it in a holster that is in plain sight. The State Highway Patrol, concerned about trooper safety during traffic stops, objected to allowing people to carry guns in vehicles, and the plain-sight wording was worked in as a compromise.

"We supported the compromise last time around on it, we thought that was a good compromise, and we believe that's where Ohio should be," Taft said yesterday.

Aslanides and Husted said the requirement is both unreasonable and unenforceable. The bill removes the plain-sight requirement because "it's legal fiction that can't be reasonably complied with by Ohio citizens," Aslanides said.

Sen. Steve Austria, of Beavercreek, who the Dispatch story referred to as "the point person for Senate Republicans on gun issues", is quoted as saying it's important that law-enforcement officers be able to identify whether a vehicle occupant is carrying a gun. Austria went on to say he believes there is a better alternative than the plain-sight provision.

"We will be trying to work with law enforcement to try and come up with a solution they are comfortable with," he said.


Is it any wonder Bob Taft's approval rating hovers in the teens? He can't even get behind a gun bill with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

First elected to office on a promise to support concealed carry, Bob Taft spent his first five years in office opposing any reasonable version of such legislation. When political pressure finally became overwhelming in the run-up to a Presidential election year, Taft finally signed a bill he had first tried to kill with the insertion of several poison pills.

Immediately after he did so, Taft sent out his spinners to put a new face on years of anti-self-defense rhetoric, telling the OSU Lantern after signing the bill that he did so because "It has proven to be rather beneficial in other states and has significantly decreased crimes. The governor has always supported the right to bear arms and has received a great amount of support from many Ohioans."

How pathetic.

"It's hard to imagine anyone insisting language that has helped criminals steal guns is necessary for the "safety of law enforcement" or the anyone else in the community," notes Jim Irvine, Chairman of Buckeye Firearms Association. "No other state has such stupid language, and though we have requested it many times, neither Governor Taft nor the Ohio State Highway Patrol has provided us with even one case where the laws of the other 49 states have caused a license holder to endanger/kill/injure a police officer. And we are sure they never will."

More coverage of this weeks' events:

Associated Press: Ohio lawmakers tinkering with concealed weapons law

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio House passes bill allowing drivers to hide guns in vehicle

Under current law, a licensed gun owner who is driving must keep the firearm in clear view whether it is holstered or kept in a case - unless it is locked in a glove compartment.

Aslanides said the requirement is too difficult to meet. Some people might carry a holster on their hips or another body part where an officer could not see it. Some might have clothing that covers up the gun.

"There have been a couple of cases where officers didn't understand this plain sight thing and have threatened arrest and confiscation of the firearm," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

"The current law simply just hasn't worked well," he said.

Toledo Blade: Ohio House votes to ease weapons law

Despite the threat of a veto from Gov. Bob Taft, the Ohio House yesterday voted overwhelmingly to loosen some restrictions placed two years ago on those who legally carry hidden handguns.

But Mr. Taft continues to fight the removal of a requirement, which was sought by the Ohio Highway Patrol two years ago, that those who carry loaded guns in their cars must keep them in plain sight if not locked in the glove compartment.

Gun-rights advocates have never liked that requirement and acquiesced to it in 2004 only to get Mr. Taft to sign the law that made Ohio the 45th state to allow law-abiding residents to carry concealed handguns.

"The horror stories feared by opponents and suggested by many have not occurred," said Rep. Jim Aslanides (R., Coschocton), the bill's sponsor. "We should be very proud of Ohio."

The bill, which passed the House 76-18, goes to the Senate.

"The governor still has concerns with the bill," said Taft spokesman Mark Rickel. "[The 'plain sight' issue] was a concern and continues to be a concern."....

...."With the media's access issue removed from this bill and the chiefs of police's concerns about constitutionality issues with pre-emption answered, there is little left in this bill for anyone's objection," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Toledo Blade: Bill could overrule local gun laws

Toledo's assault weapons ban and handgun registration law could be endangered by a House-passed bill that would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances more restrictive than state or federal law.

The provision, which cities challenge as an assault on their home-rule authority, was attached to a bill designed to ease some of the restrictions enacted two years ago when the state legalized the carrying of concealed handguns.

"You can't be driving down the highway and carrying your weapon legally, and then be out of compliance when you cross a jurisdictional line, and then be back in compliance when you cross into the next one. It's unmanageable," said House Speaker Jon Husted (R., Kettering). "There's a long precedent for the legislature to set these kinds of rules as it relates to being consistent in how state law is applied."....

....The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Aslanides (R., Coshocton), said 43 states have enacted some form of firearm pre-emption.

"It is simply not reasonable behavior for the legislature to ask the [concealed-carry] permit holder of Ohio to gain knowledge and understanding of hundreds of different ordinances while traveling from city to city," he said.

Toledo Blade: Ohio gunslingers take aim at tweaking concealed-carry

Related Story: Moment of truth for Republican Caucus: Governor threatens to veto gun bill

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