OSC ruling highlights urgency of need for unloaded transportation law fix

Can we finally get our unloaded transportation issues fixed?

By Ken Hanson, Esq.

In case you missed it, the Ohio Supreme Court has forever removed any doubt about transportation of unloaded firearms in Ohio being broken. In a decision that surprised no one, the Court ruled that ammunition being readily at hand places anyone transporting any firearm in Ohio in jeopardy of arrest and prosecution. What does “readily at hand” mean? Anything the police want it to.

Readers of this website know that we have been screaming about the unloaded transportation issue for quite some time (see "The biggest legal threat you didn’t know you were facing").

Even beyond this article, we have been working for years now to try and get this issue fixed. The House originally fixed this issue with HB347 as introduced. The fix was eventually stripped before the bill passed. Realizing the error of their ways, the House attempted to rectify this by getting an amendment on the Senate side, with this effort being spearheaded by Rep. Robert Latta (R-6). The Senate rebuffed these efforts.

To add insult to injury, even after eleventh hour concessions were given to police groups in the Senate, the Senate still refused to reinsert the fix into HB347, thus dooming any chances for that session. Several months after the new session began, meetings were held with legislators to try get some urgency to fixing this chronic issue. Instead of urgency, the fix has been languishing in the Senate, where the bill has yet to even be introduced. Once again the Senate is holding up a fix that everyone agrees needs to be made.

In the past, leadership in the Ohio General Assembly has enjoyed some political cover by virtue of Bob Taft sitting in the Governor’s Chair with his veto stamp. That luxury is gone, and Governor Strickland is already on record saying he will sign the transportation fix.

There is no longer any way for anyone to credibly state that there is no problem. Our transportation statute is broken, and needs immediate repair. Every day the Senate delays this fix is another day that an unsuspecting gun owner driving to the range can be arrested. Ohio cannot afford to wait any longer.

Ken Hanson is Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair and author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.

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