Senate Committee hears proponent testimony on SB239 (Restaurant Carry & Car Carry Rules Fix)

Buckeye Firearms Association leaders were on hand Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary on Criminal Justice Committee hearing. The committee is chaired by Sen. Tim Grendell (R-18), heard proponent testimony on Senate Bill 239, which seeks to allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm in restaurants, and to reduce burdensome restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a car.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

In the future, the person sitting next to your family at your favorite pizzeria - or any restaurant that serves alcohol - could be carrying a concealed weapon.

An Ohio Senate committee is considering legislation to allow concealed-carry permit-holders to take their guns into bars and restaurants that serve beer, wine and liquor. The only catch is, they can't drink.

The state's concealed-carry law, which took effect in 2004, currently prohibits permit-holders from taking weapons into bars, restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol.

But Senate Bill 239, sponsored by Republican Sens. Shannon Jones of Springboro and Tim Shaffer of Lancaster, would change that. It has broad support from Ohioans for Concealed Carry and other firearms groups but is generally opposed by law enforcement, including the Fraternal Order of Police, on the basis that "alcohol and guns don't mix."

The story goes on to say that Ohioans for Concealed Carry's Jeff Garvas told the committee that his group is among those pushing the change in part because current law creates a "victim zone" where people are unarmed and defenseless. Garvas also noted that when "you leave your gun in your gets stolen."

Again from the Dispatch:

Barbara Holt of West Carrollton, near Dayton, told the committee how she was attacked by a knife-wielding man outside a pizza restaurant. Holt said she has a concealed-carry permit but had to leave her gun in her car because the pizza restaurant serves beer.

"I'm going to cut you up," she said the man told her.

Holt said she reached for the gun in her holster before realizing it wasn't there. She fended off her attacker by thrusting a pizza box at him and running back into the restaurant.

"Because I followed the law, I was unable to defend myself at the time I most needed it," Holt said. "Every day, I think how lucky I was."

Edmund Markiewicz, a Cleveland man who has a concealed-carry permit, told lawmakers that he left his handgun in a lockbox in his truck while he and some friends went to dinner. When they were leaving, Markiewicz said he saw his truck being driven away by a thief.

Because one of his friends was an off-duty police officer, they were able to pursue the thief and recover his vehicle and gun.

"Requiring honest citizens to disarm while having dinner is having the unintended consequence of handing guns to criminals," he said. "This bill fixes that problem."

Click here to download OFCC President Jeff Garvas' testimony.

Buckeye Firearms Association will offer proponent testimony at a future hearing. Stay tuned to for updates on the progress involving this legislation.

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