State Representative Danny Bubp disappointed in fellow Republicans' reluctance to move Restaurant Carry bill

by Chad D. Baus

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that State Rep. Danny Bubp, sponsor of Restaurant Carry legislation in the last two General Assemblies, had expected easy passage of his bill now that voters gave Republicans a 59 seat majority.

From the article:

In December, state Rep. Danny Bubp had so much support for legislation to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take guns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol that he was able to force the bill out of committee against the wishes of Democratic leaders.

Democrats held a 53-46 majority in the House last year, but enough Democrats joined Bubp to get the 50 signatures needed for a rarely used "discharge petition" to move the bill. The effort failed only because then-Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, sent lawmakers home for the year before a full vote could be taken.

As he promised last year, Bubp brought back the guns-in-bars bill. Considering that House Republicans picked up 13 seats in the national GOP tidal wave and now hold a 59-40 majority, there was little reason to think the bill would have trouble passing, despite continued opposition from law enforcement.

Things appeared on track in mid-March, when Bubp's House Bill 45, which also loosens restrictions on how concealed-carry permit holders carry guns in vehicles, passed out of committee by a 12-10 vote.

Then progress stopped.

"My understanding is there are some in my caucus who are not going to vote for it," said Bubp, R-West Union. "We've talked to some of them, and I'm disappointed to say the least."

On Wednesday, the Senate passed and sent to the House essentially the same bill, Senate Bill 17, by a 25-7 vote. Asked about it later that day, Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said he didn't think there were enough votes to pass it. He said some lawmakers were concerned about opposition from the Ohio Restaurant Association.

"We've got a lot of new faces in our caucus, and some of them just aren't going to vote for it," Bubp said. "It's unfortunate, but that's the reality of it. I don't get it."

But according to the article, Bubp isn't giving up. In fact, he still hopes to have his bill up for a floor vote in the first week of May, after lawmakers return from spring break - but even with a 59 member majority, the Republican says he needs Democratic help to get to 50 votes.

In December, 11 Democrats voted for the procedural move to pull the gun bill out of committee. Three of those Democrats are still in the House - Reps. Lorraine Fende of Willowick, Mark Okey of Carrollton and Ron Gerberry of Austintown Township.

Ken Hanson, legislative chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said surveys filled out by legislative candidates last year indicate there is majority support in the House.

"The decision facing the speaker is he can have a vote, and if it doesn't pass, we've identified the people who voted against it," Hanson said. "If there is no vote, then the entire Republican caucus is the only target."

Click here for information on contacting your House Representative, as well as the Ohio Restaurant Association.


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