House Bill 347, Sweeping Firearms Law Reform Bill, headed to Governor Taft

Please note: the contents of this story were updated throughout the day as events warranted.

November 29, 2006

The Ohio Senate today passed Amended Substitute House Bill 347, a sweeping firearm laws reform bill. The House overwhelmingly passed substantially the same Bill this past Spring by an overwhelming, veto-proof majority. The House voter today to concur with the Senate's changes, and the Act is now headed for Governor Taft's desk, where he can sign it into law, veto the bill (and it would return to the General Assembly for a potential veto-override), or do nothing allowing the bill to become law without his signature.

The Bill dramatically improves firearm laws for gun owners and law enforcement in Ohio, including fixes the most severe problems that have become apparent since people began obtaining concealed handgun licenses in Ohio.

Among the changes:

    - Law enforcement officers are given "24/7" concealed carry in Ohio, and changes are made to Ohio law to allow our officers to better take advantage of Nationwide concealed carry under Federal Law.

    - BCI investigators are now given the same firearm rights as law enforcement officers.

    - Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) issued under the new law are good for 5 years versus 4 years under current law. The application fee increases to $55.

    - Sheriffs must accept applications for CHLs at least 15 hours per week (and applications for Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs) during normal business hours), ending the administrative harassment some counties were imposing upon applicants.

    - License holders can now carry a concealed handgun in a car. It is no longer a requirement that a pistol in a holster on the person or in a locked case be in plain sight.

    - License holders may now carry in an unlocked closed purse or bag so long as the purse or bag is closed with a snap, buckle or zipper and is in plain sight.

    - Local regulation of firearms is now completely preempted at the State level, ending the patchwork quilt of firearm laws across Ohio. Most importantly, this part of the Bill makes the award of attorney fees mandatory for any group that successfully challenges a municipal firearm ordinance, meaning cities that attempt defiance of this provision will financially pay for their obstinance.

    - Law enforcement and R.C. 109.801 exemptions are not available to persons who transport a loaded handgun in a vehicle while under the influence.

Jim Irvine, chairman of Buckeye Firearms Association, said "This Bill is an important step on the path towards modernizing Ohio's firearm laws. We applaud the Senators and Representatives who worked hard to see this Bill to passage, and look forward to continuing this work with them and Governor-elect Strickland next session."

A majority of Buckeye Firearms Association Regional Leaders were present on Wednesday to assure smooth, final passage of the Bill.

Commented Irvine, “We would like to thank Speaker Husted for his extraordinary work in getting the House to act on this important legislation the same day the Senate acted. We look forward to the Governor’s signature on this Bill.”

"Cities are out of the firearm regulation business" said Buckeye Legislative Chair Ken Hanson.

"As an attorney who litigates firearm rights cases and who also represents and has represented Municipalities, I can say that the mandatory attorney fee provision is a 'big stick'," Hanson continued. "Tax payers are not going to be happy if their elected representatives have to pay $50,000 in attorney fees over futile attempts to continue enforcing worthless local ordinances. Look no further than the Maurice Clarett case to see an example of how criminals are never charged under these ordinances, resulting in the reality that these ordinances only impact the law abiding."

Final committee vote was 5-2 with Stivers and Dann not attending.

Final Senate vote was 19-10.

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Senators
Amstutz Armbruster Austria Carey
Cates Clancy Coughlin Gardner
Grendell Hottinger Jacobson Jordan
Mumper Niehaus Padgett Schuler
Schuring Wachtmann Harris-19.

Not present on the floor, but supporting the bill, were Democrat Senators Dann & Wilson.

Those who voted in the negative were: Senators
Fedor Fingerhut Goodman Hagan
Kearney Miller D Roberts Spada
Stivers Zurz-10.

Final House vote was 74-14.


House & Senate-passed version of HB347:
HB347-PS-Y (.pdf)

FLASHBACK: September 20, 2005:
Buckeye Firearms Association Endorses HB347, Sweeping Firearms Law Reform Bill

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