Possible first hearing for HB347 Nov. 15; Opposition tries same old lines

The Youngstown Vindicator is reporting that Rep. Jim Aslanides' sweeping firearms law reform bill may have it's first hearing next week.

House Criminal Justice Committee chairman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, told the Vindicator he expects this legislation, which has been endorsed by Buckeye Firearms Association, to receive its first hearing Nov. 15.

After many false representations from the Ohio media about what this bill would do, the Vindicator has finally offered the general public the first real look at House Bill 347, and at what its opponents may attempt to offer as means to derail it....

Click on the "Read More..." link below for the story.

Perhaps the most interesting news in the Vindidator article comes not from reporting on the progress of the pro-self-defense side, but rather on how gun ban extremist Toby Hoover has fared in the past 18 months while having her dire prophesies about what would happen if Ohio became a concealed carry state (and if the United States allowed expiration of an assault weapons ban, etc.) be proven totally and completely false.

In April 2004, gun ban extremist Toby Hoover, who fronts what often appears to be a one-woman
show at the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, was quoted in several Gannett News
Service as saying, "If we have more use of guns, then we're going to have more people who
are injured and die." In 2001, she told the Cincinnati Post if concealed carry became law "we
will have more shootings, more accidents" because "a person who has a gun sees danger."
After hearing Hoover testify against concealed carry in 2001, one Columbus Dispatch reporter
summarized her testimony like this: "Gun-control advocates said it would put too many guns in
malls, parks and workplaces, causing fights and accidental shootings."

Of course, as we reported here last week, Ohio CHL-holders have proven Hoover to have been completely and totally wrong in her predictions. Only about 1 tenth of one percent of CHL-holders have had their licenses rejected for any reason. With approximately 64,000 license-holders throughout the state, had Hoover's predictions come true, that figure would number in the hundreds or even thousands.

Sadly, but perhaps not all too surprisingly, Hoover has learned little from what to most people would have been a humiliating revelation of just how poorly she had spent her time as a well-paid anti-gun lobbyist.

What does the Vindicator story reveal as Hoover's best line of defense against passage of HB347?

    "It's the wrong direction to move," Hoover said. "Everybody starts out law-abiding."

    Hoover said she thinks it will simply lead to more gun violence in the state.

So while Toby Hoover is back with the same factitious rhetoric we all know to expect from her, astute readers will no doubt be surprised by her lack of awareness of the support this legislation has already gathered in the Ohio House:

    Hoover said she doesn't think there will be much support for the new bill and says those legislators who do support it are influenced more by the gun lobby than by the general public.

Casting aside the obvious fact that we have proven that the "gun lobby" is much more representative of the general public that Toby Hoover's OCAGV can ever hope to be, has Hoover grown so out of touch as to say a bill with 48 co-sponsors lacks support?

Later in the article, Hoover seemed throughly lacking in ability to explain why she would be opposed to a provision in HB347 that would simply make Ohio law mirror a federal statute with regard to drivers' licenses, by allowing people to opt out of the public records provision if they swear under threat of perjury that they have reasonable cause to believe having their information made public could endanger them or a member of their family.

    Under House Bill 347, any applicant or permit holder who fears for their life or the lives of family members can request and have their information held private.

    According to Aslanides, the measure is a way of protecting people who carry the guns in fear for their lives, including victims of domestic violence.

    He said many news outlets run the names of permit holders, which places them in further danger.

    Hoover said she thinks the only information available to the public is names and county of residence.

    She said making the records public also keeps the process honest.

Hoover failed to mention a reason she gave in an email to media and supporters in 2004 for wanting these names to be exposed to the public - so that employers could discriminate against them during their hiring practices.

Toby Hoover isn't the only one lacking for an effective argument for why HB347 shouldn't be made law. The Vindicator quotes Lt. Rick Zwayer, spokesman for the Ohio State Highway patrol, as saying that he "[does] not think there is a problem with the plain sight provision" which regulates how licensees may carry in a motor vehicle.

    "It's well understood, what that means to law enforcement and judges," Zwayer said. "Its well defined as to what plain sight is. It's clear to law enforcement officers and troopers."

    He said if there is misuse of the plain sight language by law enforcement, then that should come out in testimony.

Indeed, if this political action committee has anything to say about it, what should come out in testimony is a request for a physical demonstration by Lt. Zwayer of how to legally carry in plain sight in a motor vehicle. Perhaps a female trooper could come along to demontrate how woman wearing a dress can carry in a holster that is in plain sight on a persons' person, as is current required in Ohio law. To date, the state patrol has declined all such requests.

Overall, like Hoover, this state patrol official seemed ill-prepared to offer reasons as to why this important legislation should not be passed, telling the Vindicator that he "has not seen it yet and wasn't aware of it being placed in a House committee."

Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Aslanides told the newspaper he knows exactly why the plain-sight language needs to be changed.

    He...said the plain-sight requirement was discriminatory to women because it is not always manageable with the clothes they wear.

    He said plain sight was also left to the discretion of law enforcement officers.

    "That's been abused by some officers in Ohio," he said.

Rep. Aslanides' office is no doubt aware of some of the more high-profile instances of where this provision was abused. Persons who have their own stories to share should send them to us at [email protected], and we will see that they are provided to Rep. Aslanides.

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