Buckeye Firearms Association works with governor's office to protect gun owners on drug trafficking bill

by Jim Irvine

Senate Bill 305, introduced to combat hidden compartments in vehicles used to transport illegal drugs, is not a "gun bill." However, as with any law, SB305 could have unintended consequences for gun owners who use safes and compartments to secure their firearms in their vehicles. As a pro-gun group, we view our narrow mission as protecting firearm rights.

When we made Governor John Kasich's office aware of our concerns, his staff reached out to us to help change the bill to protect firearm rights. Substitute SB305, scheduled and adopted by the Judiciary committee today, reflects many of the changes we requested. These changes specifically exempt containers that are manufactured and/or advertised to be used to secure valuables, electronics or firearms in vehicles. Simultaneously, the bill was also re-focused to require the state to prove that hidden compartments in vehicles are used with the intent to transport controlled substances.

We are pleased to be working with Governor Kasich's team on areas where we agree, and Substitute SB305 is a good example. What originally could have been an unintended threat to gun owners has been modified to provide explicit protection to persons doing nothing more than securing their firearms in their vehicles. As a single issue group, Buckeye Firearms Association will not take a further position, for or against, Substitute SB305.

A working relationship is critical to making progress on any issue. We welcome the opportunity to work with all levels of government in carrying out our mission to protect firearm rights.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Media Coverage:
Columbus Dispatch - Car's secret compartment OK, if it's for a gun - NRA, state group lobbied for changes to anti-drug bill

The National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association said yesterday that a new version of the legislation — advocated by Gov. John Kasich to slow down drug smuggling — no longer could cause potential problems for gun owners.

"What originally could have been an unintended threat to gun owners has been modified to provide explicit protection to persons doing nothing more than securing their firearms in their vehicles," Ken Hanson, legislative chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, wrote in a letter distributed at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Senate Bill 305 now would exempt hidden containers that are manufactured or advertised to be used to secure valuables, electronics or guns in vehicles. The bill also was "refocused," Hanson said, to require prosecutors to prove that hidden compartments are used with the intent to transport drugs.

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