House Bill 12 receives fourth hearing in Senate committee

Representatives from Ohioans For Concealed Carry and OFCC PAC were on hand today at the Statehouse, as HB12 received it's fourth hearing in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.

A summary of the hearing may be accessed by clicking on the "Read More..." link below.

Today's testimony was originally scheduled to be a continuation of invited witnesses, with the Fraternal Order of Police labor union, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association offering input. Although both the FOP and Ohio Chiefs of Police Association had representatives in the room when the hearing began, but neither offered testimony, either verbally, or in writing. The spokesperson for the Ohio Chiefs of Police Association had requested time to present oral testimony, but when his time for verbal testimony was called in the committee (immediately following the Gahanna Police Chief), he was not present.

ALL testimony is paraphrased, unless quotes are used.

The ONLY law enforcement representatives offering testimony today were Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy, and Deputy Chief Larry Rinehart, both in SUPPORT of HB12. Murphy & Rinehart also testified in the Ohio House before HB12 passage there. Murphy started by noting that his department cannot guarantee any one citizen's safety. He stated that the Ohio Highway Patrol's desire to disallow license-holders from carrying in a car "doesn't pass the common-sense test", because requiring anyone, even an officer, to handle a firearm everytime to enter and exit their car is unsafe. He pointed out that officers avoid handling their firearms, except to place on in the morning, and take off an night. Chief Murphy also opposes the creation of "victim" zones, where people would be required to leave their firearm in their car. He explained that thieves watch people in parking lots, and would quickly notice persons who were removing firearms for storage in their car. Said this will lead to more gun thefts. Murphy closed by saying that that carrying a concealed firearm is a proven emergency tool.

Deputy Chief Rinehart testified that his sister, who after a number of years had managed to escape an abusive marriage, was shot to death in front of her two daughters by her husband soon thereafter. It turned out he had a ciminal history, which no one in the family knew about. He was not legally allowed to own a firearm. Rinehart said "criminals don't give a hoot about what you do here in these chambers. But there are people in every community like my sister. And these people have the right to arm themselves."

Senator Austria asked both men for a background of their experience. Rinehart was in the Army for 12 years, and Murphy for 10. Both men have been in law enforcement for 10 years. Austria also asked about the "parking lot exception" issue, and what they thought. Rinehart said that it requires "too much weapons-handling. You're "just asking for an accidental discharge." Murphy concurred, noting that they encourage their off-duty officers to carry concealed "everywhere." No one ever knows. But people would see us if we had to handle our firearm everytime we entered or exited a business. Your firearm belongs on your hip - it's safest at your side, he concluded.

Because of an overwhelming response to the call for witnesses, tomorrow's hearing is full, and some public witnesses were invited to testify today, after the Gahanna Police Department. A summary follows:

Many women seemed to have gotten the message that the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence is claiming concealed carry reform is just a male issue. Four women testified today as supporters of HB12, and more are expected tomorrow.

• Susan Ohl, a Second Amendment Sister and NRA certified instructor, said her classes are 30-40% women., and noted that most violent crimes are man against woman. She told the Senators that a civilized society has a responsibility to protect the weakest. She remarked that she is concerned with the "victim" zones in HB12. Noted that in Florida, criminals quickly adapted to a CCW there by attacking rental cars, knowing that the law did not allow out-of-state tourists to have firearms, and said that criminals here would quickly learn where to go to find defenseless victims. Ohl requested a technical change to the language in the bill, noting that the word "aptitude" had been substituted for the correct word "attitude" in the requirement for persons to require the "Knowledge, Skills and Attitude" to obtain a license. She closed by saying that HB12 is not perfect, but so long as they don't remove right to self-defense in a car, or add safe-storage, she supports.

Senator Dann inquired about the current HB12 requirement for 12 hours of training. Ohl noted that the NRA's Basic Pistol course is 10 hours, so she teaches that, and Personal Protection together as an 18 hour course. Dann asked about her support for training about when use of deadly force is appropriate. Ohl agreed that "when to use" is as important as "how to use". She said that the NRA courses she spoke of already address these issues.

Senator Fedor asked Ohl if the training covers all types of handguns. Ohl said training is same for small caliber or large.

Senator Herington noted that doctors, lawyers and teachers all get recurrent training, but there is no provision for license-holders to get recurrent training in HB12. Ohl noted that too many mandates will reduce the number of people who get a license. She also remarked that drivers are not required to take a driving test every time they renew.

• Kate Smith, a Second Amendment Sister, a business person and an elected Township Trustee, testified in support of HB12. Told about her sister Becky, who was a victim of a violent home invasion, which resulted in her dying from a gunshot blast to the back. Smith, noting that she could have been attacked in her car or anywhere else, said that she has no doubt Becky would be alive today if she had a gun. Smith noted that her sister taught her that she "will NOT be a victim", but regrets that Ohio law considers her guilty until proven innocent for carrying, which she does do. She closed by stating that "if Gov. Taft vetoes this bill, "tell him YOU'LL make it law, for Becky and me."

Senator Fedor told Smith she agrees "we need to protect children" and that she doesn't want to move in the wrong direction." She asked Smith if she supported a background check to prevent criminals and mentally ill from obtaining licenses. Smith remarked that she sat on her county Board of Mental Health, and that there is NO way the check for that. She would support criminal background check only.

• Trisha Williams, a member of OFCC and the NRA, offered testimony in support of HB12. She also is an NRA certified instructor, and said 50% of her students are women. She told the Senators carrying a firearm is the best self-defense, and closed by saying that HB12 "gives men AND women the right to choose" if they want to defend themselves.

Senator Herington asked is Williams had any thoughts on the training in HB12. Williams stated that NRA training courses stress safety first, and that no aditional provisions would be needed.

• Merrianne Sanderson, single parent and graduate of both "Refuse to Be a Victim" and "Personal Protection", testified that she has met many women in her sport and educational shooting endeavors. She said "this is definitely not a guy thing." Sanderson closed by nothing that there are over 22,000 anti-gun laws in this country, and yet the bad guys still have guns. She asked Senators to restore women's legal right to protect themselves, and closed by saying "The police are not my personal
bodyguards. The police don't guard me when the sun goes down. They don't stand watch over my business. I need to be able to protect myself. Please pass House Bill 12."

Others testified at this hearing as well, both for and against. Further summaries will be posted.

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