Home Rule Champions Need To Be Consistent In Their Logic

Editor's Note: Buckeye Firearms Association has learned that the Senate Subcommittee on Civil Justice, chaired by Republican David Goodman, acted Wednesday to remove a provision from House Bill 9 which would have allowed concealed handgun license-holders, in certain situations, to protect their private, personal information from the media, and inserted compromise language, which is still being evaluated. The bill has not yet passed out of committee, but if it reaches Taft's desk, will he be as quick with a veto threat of this true infringment on home rule?

By Ken Hanson

Based on Bob Taft's new-found championing of Home Rule authority, as
reflected in his promise to veto H.B. 347, which contains preemption of
firearm laws, the Governor should make plans to veto H.B. 9, the public
records reform bill, on the same grounds if it reaches his desk.

By way of background, municipalities have home rule
authority in two broad areas - local government operations and police
powers. In the field of police powers, such as firearm regulations,
municipalities only have home rule authority to the extent it does not
conflict state exercise of police powers. In the area of local
government operations, the power is absolute and cannot be infringed.

Nothing is more fundamental to local government operations than what
papers government keeps, who sees these papers, when the papers are
released, how they are released and for how much money. This is an area
of home rule where local government power is absolute and cannot be
infringed, unlike firearm laws. State-level public records laws are a
clear infringement on home rule authority delegated to municipalities to
the extent they dictated to municipalities how and what paper to keep
and who they must give it to.

The law on this is clear - municipalities have an absolute home rule
power with regard to local government operations and only limited home
rule authority with respect to police powers. You simply cannot be
against H.B. 347 on home rule grounds and simultaneously be in support
of the public records bill.

Click on 'Read More' for the entire commentary.

I remain amazed that editorial boards can wax eloquent about their
support of H.B. 9, a public records bill that tramples all over Home
Rule by telling localities when to meet, how to meet, how they must
advertise the meeting and who must be allowed to see their meetings,
what documents they must keep and for how long as a result of those
meetings, who they must give those documents to, how quickly they must
give them and what they may charge for copies of those documents while
almost in the same breath spewing forth venomously their outraged
condemnation of the statewide preemption of firearm laws on these same
Home Rule grounds.

These editorial boards need to look in the mirror
and see if they can seriously say in the one breath that municipalities
should have no Home Rule authority with regard to how they conduct the
functions of local government and in the next breath say municipalities
should have broad Home Rule authority over firearm laws. The
prostitution of logic necessary to take these mutually exclusive
editorial positions is staggering.

To say you can be for home rule in the
one instance and against it in the other is a form of intellectual
dishonesty that cannot survive serious scrutiny.

Ken Hanson is the Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair.

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