House Bill 12 receives third hearing in Senate committee
Representatives from Ohioans For Concealed Carry and OFCC PAC were on hand today at the Statehouse, as HB12 received it's third hearing in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.
In the interest of time and sanity, we have taken great pains to reduce much of the anti-self-defense blather to the most basic points made.
Toby Hoover, of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, went first. She spent her first minute complaining that she couldn't possibly get all of her testimony done in three minutes, as had been requested by the committee's Chairman, Sen. Austria. She wound up testifying for twelve minutes, and spent another 30 minutes answering questions. Throughout her time at the podium, she repeatedly complained about her lack of time to testify.
Hoover's testimony focused on the dangers of acquaintances killing one another in escalated arguements, and also wondered aloud why, since many rapes are committed by acquaintances, the legislature would want to arm the rapists. (She made no mention of the likelihood that it would be the rape victim who would more likely be armed under HB12). She mentioned the testimony of OFCC spokesperson Jim Irvine several times, which seemed to indicate that his points about women benefitting more from HB12 than men had struck a nerve. She claimed that this is a male issue, as represented by the fact that no women have come to testify!
Hoover mentioned the following as flaws in HB12:
- you can conceal any gun - none are defined by the law. She showed Senators a photo of a gun which she apparently thought looked quite scary, to make her point.
- background checks are insufficient, since they can't detect mentally ill persons
- a sheriff cannot deny a person a permit if he knows he is mentally ill
- passing HB12 will move us to a social policy of fear. "We are teaching kids that we need guns to protect ourselves from our neighbors."
- Guns kill people. The only reason you would carry a gun is to shoot someone.
Senator Marc Dann began the questioning (all questions and answers paraphrases):
Dann: Please prioritize the items you see as flaws.
Hoover: I don't want to help you write the bill. But...background checks, no training on when it is ok by law to use force, the fact that this is "shall issue" rather than "may issue", and the 5th affirmative defense provision are all concerns.
Dann: Should we require "use of deadly force" training.
Hoover: There is rarely ever a need to use force at all in these situations.
Dann: If we made the bill "may issue", doesn't that open us up to Constitutional problems, since a sheriff may deny someone their license based on politically-correct motives?
Hoover: We need to trust law enforcement.
Dann: I am concerned about the Constitutional question.
Hoover: I am more concerned about the safety of our communities.
Dann: What types of guns should we prohibit from being carried concealed?
Hoover: Assault weapons.
Senator Teresa Fedor went next:
Fedor: I am concerned about day cares - don't we seem to be more worried here about protecting adults than protecting children?
Fedor: Would you suggest allowing day-cares the choice on whether or not to allow firearms on their property?
Hoover: Private day-cares could, but public ones could not.
Fedor: If we ban firearms from day-cares, are you concerned about theft of firearms from vehicles in day-care parking lots?
Hoover: There isn't any information to suggest that would be an issue. But this is why we shouldn't be passing this bill in the first place.
Fedor: What comment do you have on the appearance of conflicts in public opinion polls, in which some polls suggest there is support for the legislation, others suggest not?
Hoover: The public doesn't want it.
Fedor: I've been reading a lot of studies by John Lott. Any comments on his work?
Hoover: He was discredited by using a pseudonym to promote his work on a website. There are many alternative studies that disprove him. He can't even find all the research he did to make his claims (says his computer crashed).
Tony Fiore, representing the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, testified second. He made note of the fact that they Chamber boasts 5000 members (and did NOT mention that they have not been polled on this issue). He stated that the Ohio Chamber is in opposition to one provision in HB12 ONLY (provision denying businesses the right to ban firearms from personal vehicles in their parking lots), and that they are NOT in opposition to any other part of the bill.
Fiore cited a question of how businesses could meet OSHA safety rules without this allowance.
No questions were asked by Senators to Fiore.
Jeff Arnold, Vice President of Baker Concrete in Monroe, OH testified next. He also expressed concern that he could not provide the OSHA-required "safe working environment" under HB12.
Senator Austria asked questions to Baker:
Austria: What if an employee has to drive through a dangerous area on the way to or from work?
Arnold: That's not a problem. And if it is, an employer could grant an exception.
Austria: How will employers handle policy manual clauses which currently ban firearms, if HB12 passes as it is now?
Arnold: They'll have to change their policies.
John Shanks, who lives in Washington D.C., testified on behalf of the Brady Campaign (Handguns Control Inc., Million Mom March, et, al). He made the claim that ten years ago, traffic deaths were the number one cause of the deaths of law enforcement officers. Today, the number one cause is gun shots. He said that even highly trained law enforcement officers make mistakes with handguns, so poorly trained citizens can be expected to make a lot more. He brought up the Caase Western Reserve University shooting, pointing out that the shooter used a banned 9mm Cobra "assault weapon" (seemingly not noticing he had just admitted, in front of the Ohio Senate committee, that gun control laws do not work). Finally, he complained a lot about John Lott's research having been used to craft HB12, since he is "employed by the gun lobby."
Senator Austria asked Shanks what other states, if any, restrict the type of guns which are allowed to be concealed. Shanks replied (falsely) that Texas does. The truth is (which Senator Austria has readily available in a Legislative Services study comparing various states' licensure laws), Texas only requires that a person qualify with a pistol of a .32 caliber or larger.
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