Substitute HB274 Approved by Senate Committee

The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee (Civil Justice) has released proposed language for a substitute CCW bill, and it appears Committee Chairman Jeff Jacobson has achieved his goal of drafting a bill both the National Rifle Association and the Fraternal Order of Police labor union could accept. In its Tuesday, Dec. 3 meeting, the committee introduced Substitute HB274 and adopted it.

In proponent testimony before the committee, FOP labor union spokesperson Mike Taylor said that the FOP is prepared to drop its opposition to the bill, if changes the Senate is considering remain in the final version. John Hohenwarter, Midwest spokesman for the NRA, also testified as a proponent at the hearing.

Sen. Jacobson, a Phillipsburg Republican, acknowledged that the substitute bill may not be popular with gun-rights and gun-control groups or their supporters in the Legislature.

"I know there will be those on both sides who will be disappointed with the compromise," Jacobson said. "We felt it was important to have the opportunity to receive strong support in the General Assembly."

Contrary to rumor-based statements put out over the past few weeks, the bill does NOT contain requirements for psychological testing, per gun training in the 40-50 hour brackets, the removal of shall-issue language, or a "safe-storage" provision, all of which were considered to be potential poison pills.

As was our unfortunate expectation, however, Substitute HB274 is by no means an improvement on the House version. The Senate version would require fingerprinting of applicants, and would prohibit permits for those who have assaulted a police officer, even if the charge was a misdemeanor (a major concession meant to appease the FOP). While we are in NO way advocating assaulting police officers, we believe that once a person convicted of a misdemeanor pays her debt to society, she should not loose her constitutionally protected rights merely to appease a police labor union.

The changes also include allowing employers to dictate whether permit-holders can carry on their premises, and ordering the attorney general to produce information on when Ohio law permits a person to use deadly force. It also sets at 12 hours the length of a required gun safety course, and requires updated training every six years.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry and the OFCC PAC are currently reviewing the entire Substitute bill, and will provide a more detailed analysis, and a downloadable copy of the entire bill, as soon as possible.

We continue to maintain our position that the Senate should pass HB274 as was passed by the House. Up until the Senate votes on Substitute HB274, we encourage continued communication to this effect with your Senators. Interested persons can identify their Senators and Representatives through OFCC's website by simply filling in their address on website's front page, in the upper right hand corner. The suggested template letter has been updated to reflect these latest concerns with Substitute HB274.

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