House ''in position to pass [CCW] in February or March''

The Columbus Dispatch printed a story Monday summarizing some of the hotter issues that dominated the post-election session.

Of particular interest were comments regarding the General Assembly's failure to pass concealed carry reform, including but not limited to:

---> A mention of "Taft and his wife, Hope", not being wild about the concealed carry concept. (When did Mrs. Taft get elected to speak to the issue?)

---> Speaker Larry Householder stating that the House is already moving on pro-CCW reform momentum generated this fall, and that he thinks "we're in a position to pass it in February or March.''

Click here to read the entire Columbus Dispatch story (subscription site - paid access only). An archived (and edited to the CCW issue alone) version follows.

Lawmakers gravitate toward hot bills
Slots, conceal-carry, malpractice dominated postelection session
Monday, December 16, 2002
Lee Leonard

What makes one bill hot and another bill not?

The legislature dealt with about 80 bills during its recently concluded postelection session, including three high-profile measures. One passed, but two didn't.

Sometimes, lawmakers deliberately put off controversial bills until after the election to avoid a vote that could haunt a member in a campaign.

The concealed-weapons bill came within a hair of passing but it, too, was the victim of time and the governor's reluctance.

Taft and his wife, Hope, have never been wild about the idea of Ohioans carrying concealed handguns, but the governor said he would sign a bill if a majority of the law-enforcement community supported it.

Finan assigned Sen. Jeff Jacobson, R-Vandalia, to find out what would satisfy the governor and the Fraternal Order of Police -- the main law-enforcement group that might be swayed.

Finan originally said no action would be taken until the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on an appeal from a Hamilton County court ruling that it is unconstitutional for the state to ban concealed weapons. But after the election, he assigned Jacobson to try.

Working with the National Rifle Association and the FOP, Jacobson revised the House-passed bill enough to get the FOP to drop its opposition. That induced Taft to issue a list of provisions he would require before even considering approval.

Jacobson again went to work and accepted many of the governor's suggestions. Still, the State Highway Patrol objected to any bill that allowed loaded handguns within reach of a driver.

A late amendment would have required that the guns be either in the glove compartment or in a case that was latched, locked or zipped shut. That was not enough for the patrol.

The NRA and Rep. James Aslanides, R-Coshocton, author of the original bill, wanted quick agreement to get the measure to the governor. But Householder was not that eager. He wanted assurance that Taft would sign the bill. Otherwise, he would have put his members through an unnecessary exercise, perhaps forcing them to override a governor's veto.

Lawmakers will return in January to start putting the pieces back together.

All interested parties will have their versions reintroduced, testimony will be taken and technicians will try to assemble a version that will pass.

"I think we're in a position to pass it in February or March,'' Householder said.

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