Ohio House passes HB45 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB54 (Restoration of Rights)

Editor's Note: This story was updated as information became available.

By a 56 - 40 margin, the Ohio House has passed House Bill 45, sponsored by Representatives Danny Bubp (R-West Union) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) 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.

One month ago, the Ohio Senate passed an amended version of this legislation (SB17) by a 25-7 margin, having adding 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.

Before the bill passed, Rep. Todd McKenney (R-New Franklin) offered an amendment to strip restaurant carry from the bill. The anti-gun amendment was defeated by a 58-38 vote to table. Buckeye Firearms Association can report that McKenney answered our 2010 candidate survey just as did Rep. Matt Lundy (D), who BFA recently exposed for having lied on his 2010 candidate survey by promising to vote for the legislation in order to win a good grade and an endorsement, only to reverse course within weeks after being in office.

Other anti-gun amendments were offered by Reps. Ted Celeste (D), Mike Foley (D) (who invoked "the Wild Wild West atmosphere" he says "could and would happen" in bars, before introducing an admittedly "sarcastic" amendment), Sandra Williams (D), Tracy Heard (D) (who asked "what's to guarantee me that any one of the members in this chamber who hold a concealed carry wouldn't shoot me in the head?" and said she believes if the bill passes "there isn't going to be anyone in Ohio who isn't carrying a gun.") and Bill Patmon (D) (who cited examples of a few CHL-holders who have broken the law as representative of what he must expect will happen here). Those amendments too were tabled or defeated - Celeste's by a 62-34 margin, Foley's 72-23, Williams' 64-32, Heard's 61-34 and Patmon's 64-32.

Several Democrats also rose in opposition to the bill. Most notably, Rep. Mark Okey (D), rose to complain that a letter sent to Representatives by Buckeye Firearms Association was "threatening" and "intended to intimidate us." Okey also claimed that bar owners would be liable for the actions of those carrying a concealed handgun license.

Ken Hanson, Legislative Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association, said, "That is not true. Okey needs to refer to Ohio Law, specifically 2923.126(C)(2)(a) which says 'A private employer shall be immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer, unless the private employer acted with malicious purpose.'"

Okey concluded his remarks with this: "Buckeye Firearms, you have to earn my vote" and asserted that he was voting 'no' as an act of "legislative self-defense," shouting "Every citizen has a right to defend his house. This is our House," he said, referring to the Statehouse. There will no doubt a good number of voters who will look forward to reminding Okey in 2012 that it is not, in fact, his House, it is The People's House, and it is he who has to earn our vote.

The House also passed House Bill 54, sponsored by Representatives Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) and Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek), which seeks to align Ohio law with federal statutes regarding the restoration of rights to Ohio firearms purchasers. The bill passed by a 78-18 majority. An amended version of that bill was already passed in the Senate by a 25-7 margin.

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."

Even though both the House and Senate have passed substantially similar bills, each bill must go through the normal committee vote and floor vote process in the opposite chamber before it can be sent to Governor Kasich. Only one bill on each topic will actually make it to the Governor. Buckeye Firearms Association is hopeful that the Ohio General Assembly can expedite these bills, because opportunity for proponent and opponent testimony has already been given in each chamber, and so that both bills can be sent to Governor Kasich before the summer recess.


Click here to view and listen to an archive of the floor debate.


VOTE TALLIES

House Bill 54

The question being, "Shall the bill pass?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 78, nays 18, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Anielski
Ashford
Balderson
Beck
Blair
Blessing
Boose
Brenner
Bubp
Buchy
Budish
Burke
Butler
Carey
Carney
Clyde
Coley
Combs
Damschroder
DeGeeter
Derickson
Dovilla
Duffey
Fedor
Fende
Gardner
Garland
Gentile
Gerberry
Gonzales
Goodwin
Goyal
Grossman
Hackett
Hagan, C.
Hall
Hayes
Henne
Hottinger
Huffman
Johnson
Kozlowski
Landis
Letson
Lundy
Maag
Martin
McClain
McGregor
McKenney
Mecklenborg
Murray
Newbold
O'Brien
Okey
Peterson
Phillips
Roegner
Rosenberger
Ruhl
Schuring
Sears
Slaby
Sprague
Stautberg
Stebelton
Stinziano
Sykes
Szollosi
Thompson
Uecker
Wachtmann
Young
Yuko
Batchelder-78.

Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives

Antonio
Baker
Barnes
Celeste
Driehaus
Foley
Hagan, R.
Heard
Hollington
Mallory
Milkovich
Patmon
Ramos
Reece
Slesnick
Weddington
Williams
Winburn-18.

VOTE TALLIES

House Bill 45

The question being, "Shall the bill pass?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 56, nays 40, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Anielski
Balderson
Beck
Blair
Blessing
Boose
Brenner
Bubp
Buchy
Burke
Butler
Carey
Coley
Combs
Damschroder
Derickson
Dovilla
Gardner
Gentile
Gonzales
Goodwin
Grossman
Hackett
Hagan, C.
Hall
Hayes
Henne
Hottinger
Huffman
Johnson
Kozlowski
Landis
Maag
Martin
McClain
McGregor
Mecklenborg
Newbold
O'Brien
Peterson
Phillips
Roegner
Rosenberger
Ruhl
Sears
Slaby
Sprague
Stautberg
Thompson
Uecker
Wachtmann
Young
Batchelder-56.

Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives

Antonio
Ashford
Baker
Barnes
Budish
Carney
Celeste
Clyde
DeGeeter
Driehaus
Duffey
Fedor
Fende
Foley
Garland
Gerberry
Goyal
Hagan, R.
Heard
Hollington
Letson
Lundy
Mallory
McKenney
Milkovich
Murray
Okey
Patmon
Ramos
Reece
Schuring
Slesnick
Stebelton
Stinziano
Sykes
Szollosi
Weddington
Williams
Winburn
Yuko-40.

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