Sub. HB 142 (Modify LEO Notification) Explained; 6th Hearing, Possible Vote Today

This afternoon, I will testify before the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee in support of Substitute HB 142. That testimony is included at the end of this article.

Committee chair Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) has designated the bill for a possible vote.

Over the past few days, there has been much misunderstanding/misinformation about what this substitute bill would and would not do. This is somewhat understandable, because unlike the “as introduced” and “as passed” versions of bills, the substitute bill, while a public document and available to those willing to do some work, is not available from a convenient link which can be downloaded.

Changes that Sub. HB 142 would make if enacted into law:
  Current law Sub. HB 142
Penalty for violating the law First degree misdemeanor Minor misdemeanor
Potential jail time Up to 6 months No jail time
Fine Up to $1,000 Up to $25
When you must notify All law enforcement stops Only when asked for your driver’s license or state
identification card
Timeline to notify Promptly When presenting your DL/ID
Who you must notify Any (all) LEO Only the officer who asked for your DL/ID
Must every person in the car
disclose they are carrying when
stopped?
Yes No
Does presenting your CHL to the officer satisfy the requirement
to notify?
No Yes

 

Under current law, a CHL must notify a law enforcement officer “promptly” if they are armed. How soon is promptly? When does the clock start? Does this requirement take precedence over other law-enforcement instructions? These are all problems caused by the vagueness of current law, and there are no good answers.

Under Sub. HB 142, a CHL will be required to notify law enforcement when displaying their driver’s license or state ID card. For those that are concerned that they might forget, tape the two together and put them in your wallet/purse. Problem solved.

What does not change under the proposed Sub. HB 142?

  • Rules for transporting long guns
  • Rules for transporting firearms for those without a CHL
  • Rules for CHLs when not armed
  • Other rules for CHLs during traffic stop (hands in plain sight, off the gun, etc.)
  • There are no new obligations for those with a CHL

Is this a perfect bill? No. None of them are. But it makes significant improvements to current law and greatly reduces when a CHL must notify, who a CHL must notify, and how severe the penalties are when a CHL forgets to notify law enforcement. It makes all these improvements while making no part of current law worse.

There are those who always want the huge all-or-nothing gun rights bill. I understand that. After 15+ years of meetings and hearings and miles to/from Columbus, I’d love that time to go shooting and spend time with my family. But that is not how things work in Ohio. Never has, and probably never will.

In discussions with a criminal defense attorney, I was told this legislation would have prevented almost all of the cases he’s had on duty to notify. And he’s had a lot. Keeping good gun owners from needing an attorney is good for us. It’s something we should all support.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

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The following is Mr. Irvine's testimony in support of Sub. HB 142:

Good afternoon Chairwomen Roegner, Vice Chairman Lipps, ranking member Leland and members of the House Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations. I testify today in support of Sub. HB 142.

This committee has heard testimony that the penalties under current law for concealed carry licensees are far too severe and out of touch with best practice and nationally-recognized norms.

Law enforcement, when pressed, were unable to explain why Ohio should have penalties that no other state does.

Still, Ohio law enforcement insisted that the burden of notification must remain on the license-holder, and that there must be penalties for failing to do so.

This sub bill strikes a reasonable balance. It maintains the burden on the license-holder to notify law enforcement, and maintains penalties, but greatly reduces them to something reasonable and manageable for the license-holder.

Further, this bill addresses the vagueness of the word “promptly” that has plagued both law enforcement and license-holders through the history of concealed carry in Ohio. It provides a specific trigger (officer asking for ID) which creates the duty of the license-holder to notify that they are carrying a firearm.

It maintains the current option of verbally informing, and adds a second option for the license-holder of physically handing their CHL to the inquiring officer.

Finally, it specifies who a license-holder must notify; the inquiring officer. This is a significant improvement over the “any law enforcement officer” language in current law.

Sub HB 142 is a significant improvement over current law for CHL’s, and is good public policy. We encourage its passage.

Respectfully submitted,
James Irvine, President

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