Gov. Strickland signs Amended Substitute HB450 (Armed Services 18-21 gun rights restoration)

Governor Ted Strickland, a former Buckeye Firearms Association endorsee, finished off his second year as governor by signing yet another pro-gun bill into law.

According to his website, the Governor signed Rep. Bruce Goodwin's Am. Sub. House Bill 450 into law on January 6, 2009.

Rep. Goodwin was the primary sponsor of the legislation, which lifts a state law which banned members of the armed services or the Ohio National Guard who are under 21 and have received firearms training from purchasing or possessing a handgun. The bill also clarifies the residency criterion for the concealed handgun license (CHL), and also clarifies that any previously issued CHL that has not been revoked is prima-facie evidence that a licensee at one time had a competency certification.

Buckeye Firearms Association leaders were on hand Wednesday, December 17 as the Senate's Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice passed HB450 by a 7-2* vote.

While the committee did not address any of the amendments Buckeye Firearms Association considered most important for gun owners**, several last minute amendments were adopted by the committee, including one that, if not for the efforts of Buckeye Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association, would have raised fees on concealed handgun license-holders 30% or more.

While several amendments addressed other armed services-related issues that that are beyond the scope of this organization, one amendment, which first surfaced in the committee minutes before passage, sought to completely change the fee structure for concealed handgun licenses (CHLs). Described as a "cap [on] administrative fee for license or temporary emergency license", the amendment was adopted by the committee, and sent to the floor for consideration.

The full Senate passed the amended bill just before 7:00 p.m., with a 30-2* vote.

Meanwhile, after complete analysis, Buckeye Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association raised objections to the "CHL fee" amendment, because while the bill capped the administrative fee at $5, other language in the amendment created a loophole that would have allowed sheriffs to raise the overall fee charged to a CHL applicant to cover whatever the supposed "actual costs" were for doing a background check, without defining "actual costs."

Working into the early morning of December 18, the Senate removed the amended language, and a version which leaves the fee structure as-is was sent to the House for concurrence on a 28-3*** vote at 1:00 a.m.

The House of Representatives voted 90-0 to concur with Senate amendments at 1:20 a.m., and the bill was sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Buckeye Firearms Association wishes to thank Rep. Bruce Goodwin, Rep. Kevin DeWine, Sen. Steve Buehrer, Sen. Bill Seitz, Sen. Tim Grendell, President Bill Harris, Speaker Jon Husted and all the other representatives and senators who voted for this legislation. We also wish to thank Governor Ted Strickland for keeping his election promise to gun owners by signing this important pro-gun legislation.

CLICK HERE to view the Act.

* Sens. Nina Turner and Shirley Smith voted against the restoration of gun rights to members of Ohio's and our nation's armed services.

** While the committee did adopt the amendment which clarifies that persons aged 21 and over in our military, either from Ohio or stationed in Ohio, meet the residency requirements for renewing Ohio Concealed Carry License (CHL), that amendment had already been adopted by the House more than seven months ago. Chairman Grendell publicly stated that legislation would be introduced early next session to address the ban on transporting loaded stripper clips and enbloc clips, among other concerns.

*** Sen. Ray Miller joined Sens. Turner and Smith in voting against the bill after the "CHL fee" amendment was removed.

Media Coverage:
Columbus Dispatch - NRA helps spike gun license fee hike

A fee increase for concealed-carry licenses survived inside House Bill 450 through the entire day Wednesday and even into early Thursday morning. But it’s never too late for the National Rifle Association to make things happen.

The bill, which passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin several hours earlier in the evening, was called up for reconsideration just before 1 a.m. Thursday morning, after the NRA and others contacted Republican lawmakers and expressed concern about an amendment to the bill that would increase fees for concealed-carry permits.

The increase was added at the request of county sheriffs who say they are losing money on the administrative cost of every license issued. The current fee of $55 doesn’t cover all costs, they argue, particularly after the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation raised its fee by $7 this summer for background checks.

The fee was stripped from the bill, which was then passed again without the provision.

Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, said that he and others were led to believe the fee increase would total only $3-$5, but the actual increase could be much higher, possibly bringing the total fee to nearly $80. "It was not explained and discussed in great detail," he said.

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