Stalled until fall: Taft insistent on 'Car-jacker Protection Act'

Although two news organizations are reporting that HB12 appears to be "dead", most others are suggesting that the legislative summer break will be used as a cool-down period, and that the matter will be readdressed when the General Assembly reconvenes.

Representatives from Governor Taft's office and the Legislature ended talks aimed at reaching a compromise Wednesday. Lawmakers are scheduled to leave the Statehouse Thursday for the summer.

Talks between lawmakers and Gov. Bob Taft’s office on a bill allowing Ohioans to carry concealed handguns fell apart as the Ohio Highway Patrol refused to budge on its position that guns carried in cars be kept "in plain sight."

"We think ‘plain sight’ is plain stupid - to take the gun off the person where it’s safe and then expose it to other people in the vehicle in plain sight," said Rep. Jim Aslanides (R., Coshocton), the bill’s sponsor.

In addition, the House wants to allow people without permits who get charged with carrying a weapon to be able to try to convince a judge that the weapon was necessary because of a job or personal safety.

The State Highway Patrol opposes both provisions.

Governor Taft says he won't sign a bill that the patrol opposes.

Meetings also took place Tuesday between Taft's aides, Representative Jim
Aslanides, a Coshocton Republican who sponsored the bill, and Senator Steve
Austria, a Beavercreek Republican who carried the bill in the Senate.

Aslanides objected to the Senate’s removal of the existing legal defenses for motorists to carry concealed weapons, such as fear of a stalker or the necessity of transporting large amounts of cash. "The governor’s office wants us to give up many of the rights we have today," he said.

The impasse angered Republican House Speaker Larry Householder, who said Senate leaders gave too much control to Taft, who had said he would not sign a bill opposed by the patrol.

Householder had called for a conference committee of both chambers to fix differences.

House Speaker Larry Householder took a jab at the Senate: "The Senate has sort of given their authority to the governor, and the governor won’t budge." "There’s no point in talking to the Senate. It’s highly unusual to hand all your lawmaking authority to the governor," Householder said. "I guess I'll be talking to the governor. He is our new lawmaker."

White denied Householder’s charge and said he hopes talks would continue. The legislature isn’t scheduled to return until September, but White held out the slim possibility of calling the Senate back before then if there’s a breakthrough.

Commentary by Chad D. Baus: Ohioans For Concealed Carry PAC believes strongly that a HB12 compromise deserves to be agreed upon by a House and Senate conference, and sent to the Governor's desk, even if that means risking a Taft veto. Senate President Doug White (614-466-8082) has said he will not send members to a conference committee unless Taft is brought on board with a compromise in advance.

The Ohio House leadership deserves your words of thanks for standing against efforts to force a bill that would render families defenseless, erase existing affirmative defense laws without true reform as a replacement, and increase the risk of negligent discharges.

Am. Sub. HB12 would not technically die until Dec. 31, 2004, when the 125th General Assembly ends. Whether or not it "dies" depends largely on your actions, as constituents and voters, in the next few weeks.

Associated Press (because this story is being picked up verbatim by multiple outlets across the state, those outlets will not be listed individually.)

Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Columbus Dispatch

Dayton Daily News

Lancaster Eagle-Gazette

Ohio News Network

Toledo Blade

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