KEEP CALLING: No amendments, no vote on HB450 (Armed Services 18-21 gun rights restoration) Wednesday

COLUMBUS POLICE SPOKESPERSON: ARMING OUR SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN AKIN TO ARMING "GANGBANGERS"

In opposition testimony on December 11, Columbus Police Sgt. and legislative liaison Mike Weinman suggested that HB450 would "give cart blanc to gangbangers who will threaten police officer safety."


Representatives from Buckeye Firearms Association and the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association offered proponent testimony Wednesday on Rep. Bruce Goodwin's House Bill 450, legislation that would restore gun rights to members of the armed services or the Ohio National Guard who are between the ages of 18 and 21.

For the second week in a row, however, indications from the committee chair that a vote would be taken did not come to fruition, in either the third hearing on Wednesday or a fourth one on Thursday.

While two amendments were offered and passed in Thursday's meeting (details coming soon), public comments from Chairman Tim Grendell (R-18) have made it apparent that none of the various amendments proponents including Buckeye Firearms Association and the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association have been backing would be offered to this bill. (For background on the amendments we have been calling for, click here.)

Time is growing very short, and your help is needed RIGHT NOW to ensure that this bill, which passed the Ohio House nearly seven months ago with an overwhelming 90-3 vote, does not die at the close of the 127th General Assembly!

Statement of the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair to the Judiciary - Criminal Justice Committee of the Ohio Senate at a Hearing on House Bill 450, 10 December 2008:

Good morning Chairman Grendell and Senators. My name is Linda Walker and I am the Central Ohio Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association and I am testifying in support of HB450 on behalf of Buckeye Firearms Association.

I currently have a son in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne. He is stationed at Ft Bragg, North Carolina. James and his wife are from Ohio and their children were born in Ohio. When James is finished serving his country in the Army, he intends to return to Ohio.

Current Ohio law has residency issues for members of our military who are either from other states and stationed in Ohio, or from Ohio and stationed in other states. HB450 addresses those problems and will allow members of the military either from Ohio or stationed in Ohio to apply for and receive a Ohio Concealed Handgun License.

HB450 also makes it legal for military persons under the age of 21, who have received proper training, to legally possess a handgun. It seems hypocritical to tell a young man or women that they are entrusted with full-auto arms to protect our country, but they can not be trusted with a simple pistol to protect their home.

Lastly, while SB184 made tremendous improvements to Ohio's firearms laws, there is an apparent oversight that should be corrected. Ammunition for M1-Garand's and other rifles owned by many Ohioans, and particularly popular with Camp Perry shooters is often purchased in pre-loaded clips. We have heard many complaints from supporters concerned that those loaded clips are illegal to transport in Ohio. A proposed fix to this problem has previously been furnished to various members of the Senate and we think HB450 is a good vehicle to address this problem.

HB450 is a good bill that addresses real issues facing your constituents and we ask for your vote in favor of this legislation.

I thank you for your time and will address any questions the committee might have.

Statement of the President of the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association to the Judiciary - Criminal Justice Committee of the Ohio Senate at a Hearing on House Bill 450, 10 December 2008:

Mr. Chairman,

Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to speak this morning. My name is David Johnson, and I am the President of the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association. The ORPA is made up of people who give generously of their time and money to support the shooting sports and our rights as Americans and Ohioans, and it is an honor and a privilege to head this fine organization, which is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The ORPA is affiliated with the National Rifle Association and we work closely with the NRA in many areas, but we are an independent, grass-roots organization, working at the State level for our thousands of members and all law-abiding firearms owners in Ohio. I shall keep the members of the ORPA closely informed of the progress of House Bill 450.

The bill under consideration would allow adults who have proven themselves worthy of trust by their voluntary actions to purchase handguns. I had the privilege of serving in the Cincinnati Marine Corps Reserve unit, so I am very familiar with the fine Ohioans who chose to serve their country. It is frankly difficult to understand why those whom we trust to carry and use an M16 in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be trusted with a .22-caliber target pistol here in Ohio. We are denying a fundamental right to those who defend our fundamental rights.

The issue of stripper and en-bloc clips, used with historical firearms, is of particular interest to competitive shooters, who are some of the most law-abiding people in Ohio. In speaking with my members, I often hear frustration over what are considered to be overly restrictive and burdensome firearms laws. We would prefer that more burdens be placed on criminals and fewer on law-abiding Ohioans. Let’s not turn law-abiding citizens into felons in the forlorn hope of changing felons into law-abiding citizens.

I sincerely believe that most Ohioans would agree with the common-sense argument I have made today. On behalf of the members of the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association and all law-abiding citizens of Ohio, thank you very much for your time and attention, and thank you for your consideration of this important legislation.

The bill has been scheduled to have a fifth hearing in the Senate Judiciary on Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday, December 17 at 10:00 a.m. in the Senate Building's North Hearing Room. Once again, the committee chairman has indicated that amendments may be offered, and a vote may be taken.

We are calling on Ohio's gun owners to PERSONALLY CALL their state Senators RIGHT NOW and ask them to do everything in their power to see that HB450 is passed out of committee and given a floor vote before the session ends and the bill dies.

In addition to your personal phone call, please encourage your friends and family (especially any active or reserve military!) to do the same.

Download HB450 as passed by the Ohio House (16 pages)

Click here to look up your State Senators.

Senate Judiciary on Criminal Justice Committee members:

Chairman Tim Grendell: 614-644-7718
Steve Austria: 614-466-3780
Keith Faber: 614-466-7584
Tim Schaffer: 614-466-5838
Bill Seitz: 614-466-8068
Steve Stivers: 614-466-5981
Teresa Fedor: 614-466-5204
Nina Turner: 614-466-4583
Shirley Smith: 614-466-4857

Senate President

Bill Harris: 614-466-8086

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