Ohio House Passes Firearm Bill to Modernize Reciprocity & Concealed Carry
Editor's Note: This article was updated as information became available.
By a 59 - 28 margin, the Ohio House has passed House Bill 495, sponsored by Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), which will reform Ohio concealed carry law to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and continue a trend toward making Ohio law similar to other states.
HB495 makes three changes to current law:
- Changes to automatically honor other states licenses, similar to a driver's license
- Eliminates the "demonstrated competency" requirement for 2nd and future CHL renewals, making CHL training similar to a hunting license
- Fixes the definition of a "loaded gun" to match the commonly accepted definition
In addition to bill sponsor Rep. Johnson, Reps. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville), Danny Bubp (R-West Union), Ron Maag (R-Lebanon), and Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) rose in support of the bill. Rep. Johnson spoke truth to many of the wild claims made by opponents in floor testimony, and Rep. Bubp pointed out the "blood in the streets" warnings about his Restaurant Carry bill, passed in 2011, have not come to pass, just as those heard today will not.
Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) offered one of the more embarrassing moments for opponents, opening his floor speech by saying "I too would like to talk about the Constitution - that part where it says 'the pursuit of happiness.' Perhaps we forgot about that portion of it." Of course, the God-given right to a pursuit of happiness, which Hagan apparently believes HB495 infringes upon, is enumerated in The Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Hagan also said "don't wave the flag at me. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. More guns on the street mean more people being killed," and suggested that law-abiding gun owners are to blame when criminals steal their guns and later use them in crimes.
Also rising to speak against the bill were Tom Letson (D-Warren) and Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland). Foley proposed an amendment that would have excluded the State of Florida from the automatic reciprocity law. Rep. Maag rose to point out that the Attorney General has already signed a reciprocity agreement with Florida. The amendment was tabled 55-33.
Rep. Letson was also prepared to introduce an anti-gun amendment to make concealed handgun license records open to the public, but decided not to make the motion, calling it "futile." Letson went on to lecture on how the Second Amendment is apparently obsolete, claiming that "we don't have a militia anymore." Letson had another embarrassing moment on the floor, when he asked (with a straight face), "how does this create jobs?" Apparently it was sufficient enough to ask a silly rhetorical question, Letson felt the need to give a silly answer, saying that not only does it not create jobs, "it kills them."
Despite the anti-gun rhetoric, the bill passed by a significant majority, with more than twice as many representatives voting for it as voting against it.
"This important legislation addresses real problems with Ohio law," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a grassroots gun advocacy organization. "It continues the trend to remove problems and align Ohio law with commonly understood concepts."
"I'm very pleased to see this common sense reform bill pass the House," said Rep. Johnson. "Infringing on even one of our rights granted to us by the Constitution is unacceptable. You sacrifice one, you might as well sacrifice them all. This bill takes away unnecessary laws that do nothing more than put law abiding citizens at risk of accidental felonies."
The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Associated Press - House clears rewrite of concealed handgun licenses
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Concealed handgun license rewrite passes Ohio House
The bill -- which is supported by the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association -- now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration. With state lawmakers headed home for summer break, the bill is likely to remain in the Senate until late in the year.
Columbus Dispatch - Training rule may be eased for those renewing concealed-carry permits
"This isn't ground-shaking," said Linda Walker, the central Ohio chairwoman for the Buckeye Firearms Association. "We're cleaning up legislation."
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio House gives gun-rights advocates another win
Linda Walker, central Ohio chairwoman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, basically agreed.
"Each bill on which we've run over the years eventually has passed," she said.
"We've built relationships in the Statehouse. Anyone who values the Constitution, as our forefathers wrote it, they see the flaws with Ohio's firearms laws. Our job is to restore the Second Amendment to what it was."
The string of successes began with passage of the concealed-carry law in 2006[sic], followed by laws restricting access to concealed-carry records and overriding municipal gun-control ordinances (2007); the so-called "castle doctrine" (2008), and guns in bars and restaurants (2011).
The only minor setback — and Walker doesn't consider it one — came with passage of a law banning concealed compartments in motor vehicles. Aimed at drug smugglers, the law was revised to accommodate the concerns of gun owners.
Debate on the bill begins at 183:3 on the counter.
The question recurring, "Shall the bill pass?"
The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 59, nays 28, as follows:
Those who voted in the affirmative were: Representatives
Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives