House passes motions to discharge; Media coverage of historic discharge petitions show work still needs to be done

by Chad D. Baus

The Ohio House passed Rep. Bubp's motions to discharge SB239 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and SB247 (Restoration of Rights) today by 57-39 margins, proving that these bills have large bi-partisan support, and deserve to be given votes in an as-yet-to-be scheduled session.

The Ohio media are swinging into action to cover the latest efforts to get SB239 and SB247 the floor votes gun owners were promised in the House.

For an example of what to expect on the editorial pages in the coming days, consider these examples published after a bi-partisan majority in the Senate passed the bills:

While they haven't quite had time to work up the latest round of anti-gun editorials, there is a great deal of information that can be gleaned from the past 24 hours of news coverage.

In it's coverage of yesterday's historic events, made possible by a bi-partisan group of pro-gun legislators, The Columbus Dispatch notes that not since 1995 has a legislator successfully gathered 50 signatures on a discharge petition. Seven Democrats joined 43 Republicans in signing the petitions, and Mr. Bubp noted that he stopped collecting signatures when he had the required number.

Rep. Danny R. Bubp has collected the 50 signatures needed to force a House vote on a pair of controversial bills that would allow more Ohioans to carry guns and let permit holders to carry concealed handguns into places that serve alcohol.

The West Union Republican is utilizing a rare discharge petition to force a pair of bills out of a House committee and into the full House, avoiding the usual committee process and circumventing Speaker Armond Budish's control of the matter.

But the bills apparently cannot get a vote on passage until Tuesday at the earliest, so if Budish decides not to schedule any sessions after this week, the bills will die.

Bubp wants a vote.

"We're right here on the cusp of it," he said. "I want to be able to go as soon as possible into an Applebee's, an O'Charley's or somewhere with my weapon. I don't want to leave it in the car like I do now."

Gov. Ted Strickland would sign the bills, a spokeswoman said.

But whether or not pro-gun majority will be allowed to represent their constituency with a vote in the House is still unknown. That's because the rule on the rarely-used discharge petition is being interpreted in such a way as to require Budish to schedule another day of session next week in order to allow a vote.

And Budish isn't saying whether he supports the bills or if he will hold a session next week.

From The Toledo Blade's coverage:

"The bills have been properly vetted in the Senate," Mr. Bubp said. "There's been proponent [and] opponent testimony. They've cleared that process. They've come over here with a bipartisan vote, both of them. … There's no reason not to vote on them. The governor's on record saying that he would sign the legislation."

The bills are the latest effort to loosen restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms since Ohio first legalized it in 2004.

"Nobody believes that alcohol and guns mix together," Toby Hoover, the executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence in Toledo, said. "They claim that none of their licensees would ever do so. Just like people don't drink and drive. They do. It will happen. … I don't think that's what families want."

It remains to be seen whether the clock could run out on the effort in this lame-duck session. Since he garnered 50 signatures from Republicans and Democrats on the petition, Mr. Bubp apparently has the necessary vote on the floor Wednesday to discharge the bills from committee.

House rules, however, then require the bills to be held for two days before final up or down votes are taken.

The only potential days left in this session are Thursday and Tuesday, "if needed." Should the chamber wrap up business by Thursday and House Speaker Armond Budish (D., Beachwood) gavels the session to a close, the bills would die and would have to start over again in 2011.

Mr. Budish wasn't showing his hand Tuesday, but he clearly wasn't happy with Mr. Bubp's maneuver.

"This is a highly unusual procedure," he said. "[Republican leader Bill] Batchelder often talks about admiring and adhering to the traditions and protocols of the House. I believe this violates the traditions and protocols of the House."

While he seemed unhappy with the procedure, Speaker Budish did express to The Plain Dealer that he did not fault some fellow Democrats for signing the discharge petition, and noted that the issue of concealed-carry in the past has crossed party lines.

"My members have to represent their districts," Mr. Budish said.

Media coverage, including this article from The Cincinnati Enquirer, has been quick to cover opponents' viewpoints on efforts to give representatives a chance to vote on the legislation, and predictably void of facts about the two bills, such as the fact that neighboring states already have laws like these and have no problems whatsoever.

A few news outlets have published a few comments that shed some light on the truth about these bills, including Columbus' NBC affiliate, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer..

From WCMH (NBC Columbus):

"These laws will not get drug dealers guns back, these people were not granted gun rights before the law and they won't be after either,"said Ken Hanson, Legislative Chair for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

"Senate Bill 247 is about restoring the right to own a gun for anyone who committed a minor misdemeanor in their past." And, it will allow someone convicted of a drug felony the right to own a gun only if the court system approves it," said Hanson.

"When you provide a gun to those who have been convicted of a drug offense, that person is likely to be arrested again for another drug offense," said Mayor Coleman. He quoted statistics showing, gun buyers who have at least one misdemeanor conviction are seven and a half times as likely to commit new offenses.

Buckeye Firearms has received calls from police officers who support the misdemeanor bill, because they too have had similar convictions.

"The police and prosecutor groups never meant it to a disability for minor misdemeanors. if someone went through the process, then the court order to have their gun rights restored should be honored," said Hanson.

Up until 2007, Hanson said, "Ohio Courts had the ability to restore an offender's firearm rights, but then, the Federal Government stopped accepting Ohio Court Orders." Senate Bill 247 will restore those rights," said Hanson.

And from The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

If the law passes, restaurants and bars could still decide to prohibit guns inside their businesses, said attorney Ken Hanson, who is legislative chair for the Buckeye Firearms Association. Hanson said privately owned stadiums could make the same decision. Guns would still be prohibited at publicly owned stadiums if the law passed, Hanson said.

The media have also now been informed that Ohio's gun owners were given a promise that these bills would receive a vote.

Once again, from The Columbus Dispatch:

The Buckeye Firearms Association is pushing for votes on the bills. Ken Hanson, the group's legislative chairman, said he was told by Democrats during the campaign that in exchange for some lenient grades for those who blocked a House vote on the bills in the spring, they would get a floor vote.

"The time for delay is done," Hanson said. "We didn't want them to go into recess and not do any legislative business for five months."

Hanson said his group has received a number of calls from police officers who support the misdemeanor drug bill because they themselves have had such convictions.

When asked for comment on The Plain Dealer's interpretation of his comments regarding the BFA grading process, Hanson (who was NOT on the endorsement committee and didn't make any decisions in that regard) said "I believe my exact quote was that gun groups were repeatedly asked not to grade people based upon their blocking the bills from being brought to the House floor in May - that we shouldn't punish them for those votes because the bills would be brought forward for a floor vote before end of session. I never said anything that could be mixed up with 'we altered a grade' or 'we graded leniently in return.'"

As BFA Chairman Jim Irvine wrote at the time, "The Republican-controlled Senate took much too long to pass these needed reforms, and by the time they at long last finished their job, the Democrat-controlled House only had a day or two remaining in session before they left for the summer. While we share your frustration that Speaker Budish and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives did not address our concerns before adjourning for the summer recess, and in all likelihood until after the November election, we must also note that we were asking them to skip the normal hearing process and amend our bills into some other piece of legislation that has already gone through the process."

In recent years, Democrats have worked hard to make inroads with Ohio's pro-gun voters, taking advantage of poor performances by high-profile anti-gun Republicans such as Bob Taft, Betty Montgomery, George Voinovich and Mike DeWine. The Ohio Democratic Party elected a pro-gun former state representative - Chris Redfern - as its chairman, and twice nominated staunch pro-gun candidates for governor and attorney general. More Democrats earned endorsements from Buckeye Firearms Association and other pro-gun groups in the past two election cycles than they had in previous years. In 2008, in part as a result of those efforts, voters in Ohio handed Democrats the House majority for the first time in a decade and a half.

All that will be lost if the votes on these two bills do not occur. The lesson Ohio's gun owners will take away from this process is that, when it really counts, self-proclaimed pro-gun Democrats cannot be trusted to keep their word. And as certain anti-gun Republicans can attest, Ohio's gun owners have a VERY long memory.

It is time that you, the gun owner, take charge of your gun rights and let the Ohio House know that there must be a vote on these two bills before 1/1/2011. It is also time that you, the gun owner, let every Representative know that you will consider the failure to bring these bills to a vote as an automatic disqualifier, regardless of party, in future elections. If a candidate has not voted to bring these bills to the floor, that candidate does not deserve your support.

The time for partisan finger-pointing is long past. The time for a vote is now.

Please call your State Representative and Speaker Armond Budish and politely demand a vote on these two pieces of legislation.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.


The question being, "Shall the motion to discharge S. B. No. 239-Senators Jones, Schaffer, et al., from the committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security be agreed to?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 57, nays 39, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were:

Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Bacon
Baker
Balderson
Batchelder
Beck
Blair
Blessing
Bolon
Boose
Bubp
Burke
Coley
Combs
Daniels
DeBose
Derickson
Dodd
Domenick
Dyer
Evans
Fende
Gardner
Gerberry
Goodwin
Grossman
Hackett
Hall
Hite
Hottinger
Huffman
Jordan
Lehner
Maag
Mandel
Martin
McClain
McGregor
Mecklenborg
Morgan
Newcomb
O'Farrell
Oelslager
Okey
Phillips
Ruhl
Schneider
Sears
Snitchler
Stautberg
Stebelton
Uecker
Wachtmann
Wagner
Zehringer

-57.

Those who voted in the negative were:

Representatives

Belcher
Book
Brown
Carney
Celeste
Chandler
DeGeeter
Driehaus
Foley
Garland
Hagan
Harris
Harwood
Heard
Hollington
Koziura
Letson
Luckie
Lundy
Mallory
Moran
Murray
Otterman
Pillich
Pryor
Reece
Skindell
Slesnick
Stewart
Sykes
Szollosi
Walter
Weddington
Williams B.
Williams S.
Winburn
Woodford
Yuko
Budish

-39.

The motion was agreed to.

The question being, "Shall the motion to discharge S. B. No. 247-Senator Wilson, et al., from the committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security be agreed to?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 57, nays 39, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were:

Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Bacon
Baker
Balderson
Batchelder
Beck
Blair
Blessing
Bolon
Boose
Bubp
Burke
Coley
Combs
Daniels
Derickson
Dodd
Domenick
Dyer
Evans
Fende
Gardner
Gerberry
Goodwin
Grossman
Hackett
Hall
Hite
Hottinger
Huffman
Jordan
Lehner
Maag
Mandel
Martin
McClain
McGregor
Mecklenborg
Morgan
Newcomb
O'Farrell
Oelslager
Okey
Phillips
Pillich
Ruhl
Schneider
Sears
Snitchler
Stautberg
Stebelton
Uecker
Wachtmann
Wagner
Zehringer

-57.

Those who voted in the negative were:

Representatives

Belcher
Book
Brown
Carney
Celeste
Chandler
DeBose
DeGeeter
Driehaus
Foley
Garland
Hagan
Harris
Harwood
Heard
Hollington
Koziura
Letson
Luckie
Lundy
Mallory
Moran
Murray
Otterman
Pryor
Reece
Skindell
Slesnick
Stewart
Sykes
Szollosi
Walter
Weddington
Williams B.
Williams S.
Winburn
Woodford
Yuko
Budish

-39.

The motion was agreed to.

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