FLASH: Ohio Senate passes SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and SB61 (Restoration of Rights)
Editor's Note: This story was updated as information became available.
The Ohio Senate has passed Senate Bill 17, sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer (R) which will allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm in restaurants. To do so, license holders may not consume any alcohol and must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to OpenCarry.org, 42 states (including every state that borders Ohio) allow non-drinking license holders to carry firearms in restaurants.
The bill also reduces burdensome restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a car. Currently, Ohio is the only state to place such complex limitations on license holders. This bill the same as SB239 from last session, but it adds a provision to provide a way for people who were convicted of improperly transporting a firearm under the current law to receive relief if they would have been in compliance under the law as amended in SB17.
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 61, sponsored by Senator Jason Wilson (D) which seeks to align Ohio law with federal statutes regarding the restoration of rights to Ohio firearms purchasers.
Ken Hanson, Legislative Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association, said, "These bills address three important issues facing Ohio gun owners and concealed carry license holders and seek to align Ohio law with federal law and the laws of our surrounding states."
Having passed with a 25-7 margin in the Senate, SB17 will now be taken up for consideration in the Ohio House, where similar versions have already passed from committee, but not yet received a full House vote.
Likewise, SB61, having passed with a 27-5 margin in the Senate, will also now move to the Ohio House, where similar versions have already passed from committee, but not yet received a full House vote.
Having strong bipartisan majorities, Buckeye Firearms Association strongly urges the Ohio House expedite passage of these bills, and to send both to Governor Kasich before the summer recess.
Senator Tim Schaffer (R) has issued a press release concerning the bi-parrtisan passage of his bill, SB17:
Senator Schaffer's Concealed Carry Reform Passes Ohio Senate
Bill will simplify Ohio's overly complex current law
OHIO…State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) today earned passage of Senate Bill 17, which affirms law abiding citizens' rights to bear arms.
The bill will make two necessary changes to Ohio's concealed carry law. First the bill will remove confusing provisions of the law relating to carrying of firearms in a vehicle. Second, it will allow lawful carry in restaurants that serve alcohol as long as the license holder is not consuming alcohol.
"The legislation merely removes the 'micromanaging' provisions that say how and where a gun must be kept in a car," Schaffer said. "I believe this will make sure that both Ohio residents, and residents from other states, who are concealed carry permit holders, are not arrested for accidentally putting their firearm in the wrong place in the car when they thought they were obeying the law.”"
Out of the 48 states that issue concealed carry licenses, Ohio is one of only six states that prohibit a permit holder from carrying in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Senate Bill 17 simply updates current concealed carry regulations so they are in line with the majority of other states' regulations.
"Nothing in Senate Bill 17 requires an establishment to allow weapons in their business," Schaffer said. "Any establishment that does not want firearms may simply post a sign prohibiting firearms per current law."
The bill also includes an amendment added through the committee process to allow persons who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to violations of the current law to apply for an expungement upon passage of this bill. Expungements will be granted based on judicial discretion.
Senate Bill 17 passed the Ohio senate with a vote of 25-7 and will now head to the Ohio House of Representatives for consideration.
Senator Jason Wilson (D) has issued a press release concerning the bi-parrtisan passage of his bill, SB61:
SENATE PASSES WILSON SPONSORED BILL
(Columbus)—State Senator Jason Wilson (D- Columbiana) announced today the passage of a bill that would put Ohio in compliance with federal law regarding gun ownership rights for Ohio citizens.
SB 61 fixes a technical defect in Ohio law. Because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives ruled that Ohio's gun rights restorations are not valid in the eyes of the federal government. The result is that people may obtain an Ohio CCW permit, or be a police officer, but could still be under a Federal Firearms disability and are carrying a gun illegally.
"Senator Wilson has been an outstanding leader on this issue of great importance to many good Ohioans," Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association said. "SB 61 solves a real problem by aligning Ohio law with Federal law regarding firearms disabilities."
This bill was supported by Governor Strickland, Attorney General Cordray, Buckeye Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association. It passed by a vote of 27-5.
"For the second session in a row, Senator Wilson has sponsored this critically needed fix to Ohio's restoration of rights statute," said Ken Hanson, Legislative Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "Senate passage means Ohioans are now one step closer to Ohio's Judges regaining the authority they exercised, without problem, for 30 years."
SB 61 will now go to the House for further hearings.
The question being, "Shall the bill, Sub. S. B. No. 17, pass?"
The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 25, nays 7, as follows:
Those who voted in the affirmative were: Senators
Senators Brown, Kearney, Sawyer, Skindell, Smith, Tavares, and Turner voted in the negative-7.
The question being, "Shall the bill, Sub. S. B. No. 61, pass?"
The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 27, nays 5, as follows:
Those who voted in the affirmative were: Senators
Senators Hughes, Schaffer, Smith, Tavares, and Turner voted in the negative-5.
SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE:
WKYC (NBC Cleveland) - Guns in bars: Safe move?
WXIX (Fox Cincinnati) - Reaction to Senate passing concealed-carry bill
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - Senate OKs bill to allow concealed guns in OH bars
WJW (Fox Cleveland) - Guns in Bars May Become Law in Ohio