HB 425 (Duty to Notify) to receive second Senate committee hearing Wednesday

Representative Bill Coley (R-4), who chairs the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, has announced a second hearing for HB 425 (Duty to Notify), sponsored by Rep. Scott Wiggam.

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. in the Finance Hearing Room at the Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.

The committee will hear proponent testimony.

The bill has been a priority for Buckeye Firearms Association, which provided testimony before the House Federalism Committee on two occasions and generated nearly 19,000 email messages from constituents urging support for the bill during consideration in the House.

Current law states that if you have a Concealed Handgun License and are carrying a handgun, you must "promptly" notify a law enforcement officer who stops you for any official purpose. But when is "promptly"? This is confusing and can lead to misunderstandings during encounters with law enforcement.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 58-32. During the debate on HB 425, legislators rejected an amendment by State Representative Jessica Miranda to include language requiring the safe storage of firearms. Opponents of her amendment noted that existing law already allows a charge of negligence if the situation warrants it, and that the penalties in existing law were stronger than what Rep. Miranda’s amendment would have called for.

Representative Joseph Miller (D-Lorain County) opposed HB 425, saying it was not the time for a divisive bill to be passed because of current protests and civil unrest. But Representatives John Becker (R-Clermont County) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Stark County) rightly countered that the bill was only about clarifying a law that was unfairly applied to law-abiding people.

Currently, 41 states have laws with no duty to notify unless specifically asked, something officers are already trained to do. If 41 of 50 states have no duty to notify, there is obviously no safety issue for law enforcement. They are trained to assume citizens may be in possession of firearms. States with no duty to notify unless specifically asked by law enforcement include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York, which have some of the strictest firearm laws in the country.

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