HB 233: Rep. John Becker's DEFEND legislation introduced with 51 co-sponsors
Rep. John Becker (R-Clermont Co.) has introduced House Bill 233, a bill that seeks to decriminalize so-called “no-guns" victim zones for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. The bill was introduced with 51 co-sponsors - including House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) - enough support to ensure passage if the bill is brought to a vote.
Becker has named the bill the DEFEND Act: Decriminalization Effort for Ending Notorious Deaths.
“All CHL holders have successfully passed a background check, been fingerprinted, photographed, and have had training in gun safety and marksmanship,” says Becker. “For many, carrying their concealed firearm is second nature. As CHL holders are law abiding citizens and carry firearms for personal and community safety, codifying this standard procedure, practiced by officials in many government buildings, ensures that they will not be prosecuted unless they refuse to leave the premises.”
A fact sheet Becker circulated with his co-sponsor request letter states that "the DEFEND bill threads the needle between the rights of property owners to keep guns off of their property and the public safety attributes of Ohio’s finest citizens carrying guns." Under HB 233, a CHL-holder, with a concealed firearm, discovered in a gun-free zone must leave upon request.
Failure to leave subjects the person to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. Currently, violators caught in most government buildings face a fifth-degree felony charge and could spend up to 12 months in prison and pay a $2,500 fine.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and a NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.