Republican House Speaker suggests restaurant carry votes aren't there yet, points to opposition from Ohio Restaurant Assoc.

by Chad D. Baus

On December 8, 2010, the Democrat-controlled House passed a motion to force a vote on that session's version of Restaurant & Car Carry rules fix legislation by 57-39 majority. Only the refusal by then-Speaker Armond Budish, a Democrat, to call another session prevented the bill from being passed and signed into law.

Now that pro-gun rights voters and other freedom-loving Ohioans voted to put Republicans back in the majority, the bill should sail to easy passage, right?

Not according to Republican House Speaker William Batchelder.

From Gongwer News Service :

Law-abiding Ohioans who hold concealed carry permits would be able to carry firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol under legislation that cleared a split Senate on Wednesday.

But the fate of the bill (SB 17) in the House appears to be far from settled, given Speaker Bill Batchelder's (R-Medina) suggestions that there is more opposition at this juncture.

"I'm not sure.... The last time I saw the headcount it was missing a little something in the way of numbers, but not a lot," the speaker said when asked if he planned to move the measure. "I'd prefer not to bring something to the floor if it's going to be defeated, on the other hand if that's what the sponsors want to do...."

What's more, when asked by Gongwer if the proposal wasn't a priority for the House, Batchelder reportedly said, "I would say that's fair."

According to The Columbus Dispatch, unnamed legislators are concerned about opposition from the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA):

Batchelder said concerns raised by the Ohio Restaurant Association seem to be having the most influence on House members. The group's lobbyist sent a four-paragraph letter opposing a similar bill pending in the House.

"We simply feel that alcohol and guns are not a good mix," Richard Mason wrote in the missive. "We encourage you to vote against this or any proposal that would allow guns in restaurants with liquor permits."

All the states adjoining Ohio allow the license holder to carry into establishments serving alcohol. It seems rather amazing those states trust Ohio citizens in their restaurants, but the Ohio Restaurant Association somehow believes we are not to be trusted.

It is unfortunate that the ORA did not remain neutral and allow their individual members to simply post their restaurant if they so choose. SB17/HB45 simply puts the ORA members who serve alcohol on the same playing field as restaurants that do not serve alcohol. It allows the concealed handgun license-holder to know which businesses appreciates the money we spend, and which would rather deny our freedoms.

As comments made to Cincinnati's Fox affliate prove, the current law is already costing restaurants on state borders customers:

I live near the Indiana border and if I'm coming home from work, I'll go eat in Indiana because I know I don't have to worry about handling my gun one extra time during the day," Heimann said. "I can sit down, have a meal and not have to worry about it."

Clearly, it is time for more than just restaurants on Ohio's borders to get the message. Buckeye Firearms Association is calling upon the millions of Ohio gun owners, hunters, concealed handgun license-holders and Constitution-lovers to refrain from patronizing ORA member businesses. When you are making your dining-out decisions, please make sure to ask the restaurant if they are a member. If they are, inform the business that you are choosing to eat elsewhere because of their membership in the ORA. (The ORA doesn't provide a complete list of members, but board members are listed here.)

Gun owners are also invited to express their concerns directly to the ORA:

The Ohio Restaurant Association
1525 Bethel Road, Suite 201
Columbus, Ohio 43220-2054

Toll-free: (800) 282-9049
Fax: (614) 442-3550
E-mail: [email protected]

ORA Director of Government Affairs Richard Mason can be contacted here:

Phone: 614-246-0130
Fax: 614-442-3545
Email: [email protected]

Gun owners apparently also need to remind Ohio House Representatives exactly who it was that worked to get them elected, and what we elected them to do:

Contact your Representative NOW and say you want the House to vote on our pro-gun bills immediately.

CLICK HERE to go to our Action Center.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

Ohio News Network: Concealed Weapon Bill Meeting Opposition

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