Ohio House Votes to Pass HB 425 to Eliminate Duty to Inform
Late Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 425. The bill eliminates Ohio’s ambiguously worded requirement that a Concealed Handgun License holder, when interacting with a police officer, “promptly” disclose they are carrying a firearm. The law has been unevenly enforced and has become a trap for law-abiding gun owners in Ohio.
HB 425, sponsored by Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wayne County), properly transfers the responsibility to the police officer to ask if a person is carrying. While the law would still require a person to truthfully respond if asked, it would eliminate the harsh first degree misdemeanor penalty for failure to disclose the information promptly, prior to being asked.
The bill has been a priority for Buckeye Firearms Association, which provided testimony before the House Federalism Committee on two occasions and recently generated nearly 19,000 email messages from constituents urging support for the bill.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 58-32. During the debate on HB 425, legislators rejected an amendment by State Representative Jessica Miranda to include language requiring the safe storage of firearms. Opponents of her amendment noted that existing law already allows a charge of negligence if the situation warrants it, and that the penalties in existing law were stronger than what Rep. Miranda’s amendment would have called for.
Representative Joseph Miller (D-Lorain County) opposed HB 425, citing it was not the time for a divisive bill to be passed because of current protests and civil unrest. But Representatives John Becker (R-Clermont County) and Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Stark County) rightly countered that the bill was only about clarifying a law that was unfairly applied to law-abiding people.
“We’re very thankful to Speaker Householder and Representative Wiggam for advancing House Bill 425,” said Dean Rieck, BFA’s Executive Director. “It’s a simple fix for a long-standing problem and shouldn’t be controversial to anyone who truly supports the rights of gun owners. BFA will immediately be calling upon our state senators to move this important piece of legislation when they return to session sometime later this year.”