House passes Ohio's Concealed Carry & Self-Defense Law Reform (HB 203) [UPDATE: Vote Tallies]

[Editor's Note: This article was updated as additional information became available.]

Concealed Carry Law Reform Bill Closer to Governor's Signature

COLUMBUS, OH - HB 203 sponsored by Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), a bill that seeks to update Ohio's concealed carry program, has passed the Ohio House with a 63 - 27 vote, and will now be forwarded to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

HB 203 has significant support as shown by the overwhelming House vote. Buckeye Firearms Association and the NRA have both endorsed the legislation, which seeks to make many improvements to Ohio's concealed carry laws.

The bill would strengthen the background checks required to obtain an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL). Under the bill, Ohio CHL applicants would need to pass a NICS-compliant background check (National Instant Check System), making it compatible with more states. This improvement will also help prevent people with mental health disqualifiers who have been entered into the federal database from obtaining a CHL.

The bill would also move Ohio to an automatic reciprocity system, relieving the Attorney General from the requirement to sign agreements with every state for reciprocity. The Attorney General would still be permitted to sign agreements if needed, but the bill seeks to streamline the process and open up agreements with states such as Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Georgia with which Ohio does not currently have agreements.

"Reciprocity remains a critical issue for people with a CHL," said Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Association. "Background checks have been a hot topic since the Newtown killings, and ours has some issues that should be addressed. This bill makes sure people with disqualifying offenses are not issued CHL's. This is something everyone should be happy about."

The bill would also update the requirements and disqualifications to obtain an CHL. Currently there are different standards to possess a gun under federal and state law, and different still to obtain a CHL. HB 203 harmonizes Ohio law with federal law so that someone who is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm will not be issued a CHL. Ohio would also be able to issue licenses to out-of-state residents, something many other states already do.

Under the bill, required topics for Ohio CHL training would remain the same, but the arbitrary mandate that requires instructors to spend 12 hours covering those topics would be reduced to four hours. Most experienced instructors agree that the same training can be covered in less time.

"Ohio has one of the nation's most egregious CHL training requirements," said Irvine. "Other states have seen that more people get training when the time requirement is reduced. We are strong advocates of training and want to see more people become trained in the safe use of firearms. But padding the classes to fill 12 hours when the same information can be effectively covered in less time makes no sense.

"People are exhausted at the end of a long 12-hour day or at the end of two 6-hour days. They lose their concentration and stop learning at some point. By covering the same material in less time, we think applicants will learn and retain more information."

Finally, HB 203 seeks to modify the state's self-defense law. Current law specifically states that a person has no duty to retreat before using deadly force if that person is in his or her own home or automobile. HB 203 would expand that to anyplace that a person lawfully has the right to be.

"The law should not impose specific 'duties' on people whose lives are in jeopardy," observed Sean Maloney, a Cincinnati-area attorney specializing in self defense and firearm law. "It should protect the innocent and their right to defend their own life from criminal attack. The bill would not otherwise change the threshold to legally use lethal force in defending one's life."

Those who think "all politicians are the same" or "hate all politicians" are encouraged to spend a couple hours watching the discussion and debate that took place on the House floor prior to the vote. Click on the picture of the Statehouse above which links to the archived video. You will be frustrated and possibly angered by the comments of some legislators, but you will be thankful that there are others who stand up to defend freedom and common sense. If you do nothing else, listen to Dr. Johnson's comments. They will restore your faith that there are great people willing to stand up and defend our country, Constitution and way of life. Remember as you watch the comments of your legislators, that elections really do matter.

Buckeye Firearms Association is dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation.


UPDATE:

Four hostile amendments were offered by Democrats before the final vote was taken. All were defeated.

Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, introduced an amendment that would have stripped the self-defense modifications from the bill. The amendment was defeated 56-34.

Rep. Ronald Gerberry (D-Austintown) unsuccessfully proposed removing the provision which reforms Ohio's concealed carry reciprocity. The amendment was defeated 58-33.

Rep. Mike Ashford (D-Toledo) proposed eliminating the training requirement rollback. The amendment was defeated 54-37.

Rep. Fedor (D-Toledo) offered an amendment proposing the building of a fingerprint database of gun owners with a CHL. The amendment was defeated 56-35.

In the end, six Democrats joined 57 Republicans in voting for the bill.


ONLINE POLLS:

Should House Bill 203 become Ohio's 'Stand Your Ground' law? (poll)

Are the changes to concealed weapons law in House Bill 203 more cause for concern than the 'stand your ground' provision? (poll)


Media Coverage:

Associated Press - 'Stand your ground' bill broadening gun use, access in Ohio clears state House over protests

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Ohio House approves "stand your ground" gun bill

Cleveland Plain Dealer - 'Stand your ground' moves to Ohio Senate

Columbus Dispatch - 'Stand your ground' moves to Ohio Senate

Dayton Daily News - Ohio House approves "stand your ground" gun bill

Dix Communications - Ohio House Passes 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

"'Stand Your Ground' is a marketing label, it's a media label, it has no independent meaning," Ken Hanson, legislative chairman for the Buckeye Firearms Association, told reporters the day before the House vote on the bill. "Ohio is the only state a person acting in self defense has to prove they were acting in self defense. Every other state, it's up to the prosecution to prove they weren't acting in self defense. So trying to compare what Ohio is proposing to do to what other states have done, it's not a valid comparison."

VIDEO: Ken Hanson from the Buckeye Firearms Association answers reporters' questions about House Bill 203, which includes a number of provisions related to concealed carry handgun laws in Ohio. Includes discussion of what some are calling "Stand Your Ground" provisions that would provide legal protections to citizens who use firearms to defend themselves in certain situations, rather than retreating. Hanson said the bill should not be referred to as "Stand Your Ground" and explains why.

Gongwer News Service - House Passes Bill To Ease Concealed-Carry Requirements, Interstate Handgun License Agreements

The Buckeye Firearms Association released a statement after the House vote applauding the bill's passage.

The bill "has significant support as shown by the overwhelming House vote. Buckeye Firearms Association and the NRA have both endorsed the legislation, which seeks to make many improvements to Ohio's concealed carry laws," the group said.

"Reciprocity remains a critical issue for people with a CHL," said Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Association. "Background checks have been a hot topic since the Newtown killings, and ours has some issues that should be addressed. This bill makes sure people with disqualifying offenses are not issued CHL's. This is something everyone should be happy about."

Regarding the new training guidelines in the bill, he added, "Ohio has one of the nation's most egregious CHL training requirement."

"Other states have seen that more people get training when the time requirement is reduced. We are strong advocates of training and want to see more people become trained in the safe use of firearms. But padding the classes to fill 12 hours when the same information can be effectively covered in less time makes no sense."

Reuters - Ohio House advances broad 'stand your ground' bill

Toledo Blade - Ohio House OKs 'stand your ground' bill - Opponents say measure will lead to more killings

WLWT (NBC Cincinnati) - Ohio House passes 'Stand your ground' law [VIDEO]


HOUSE VOTE TALLIES

Please call your Representative and thank them for their vote in support of H.B. 203 this week.

House Bill 203

The question being, "Shall the bill pass?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 63, nays 27, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Anielski
Baker
Barborak
Beck
Becker
Bishoff
Blair
Blessing
Boose
Brenner
Brown
Buchy
Burkley
Butler
Cera
Conditt
DeVitis
Derickson
Dovilla
Duffey
Green
Grossman
Hackett
Hagan, C.
Hall
Hayes
Henne
Hill
Hood
Hottinger
Huffman
Johnson
Kunze
Landis
Lynch
Maag
McClain
McGregor
Patterson
Pelanda
Perales
Phillips
Retherford
Roegner
Rogers
Romanchuk
Rosenberger
Ruhl
Scherer
Schuring
Sears
Slaby
Smith
Sprague
Stautberg
Stebelton
Terhar
Thompson
Young
Batchelder-63

Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives

Antonio
Ashford
Barnes
Boyce
Boyd
Budish
Carney
Celebrezze
Clyde
Curtin
Driehaus
Foley
Gerberry
Hagan, R.
Heard
Lundy
Mallory
Milkovich
O'Brien
Patmon
Ramos
Reece
Sheehy
Slesnick
Stinziano
Strahorn
Winburn-27

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.

Mission

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

JOIN