Taft Vetoes HB347; House overrides Taft 71-21

NOTE: The contents of this story have been updated throughout the day as circumstances warranted.


Today Governor Bob Taft carried out his threat and vetoed HB347, a bill that only the rabid anti-freedom groups oppose. The Ohio House of Representatives responded within about three hours, overriding the governor's veto by a 71-21 margin. Fourteen Democrats joined 57 Republicans in voting "yes" to override.

The Act would make firearms laws uniform throughout the state, something almost every state in our union did long ago because it makes sense and solves problems that burden Ohio's citizens.

The contents of the veto message are as follows:

“Pursuant to Article II, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution, which states that the Governor may disapprove any bill, I hereby disapprove of this act and set forth below the reasons for so doing.

“Substitute House Bill 347 exceeds the scope of a concealed carry corrective bill by preempting local gun regulations relating to owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, and transferring firearms and their ammunition. In so doing, the act nullifies many local municipalities’ gun regulations that are more stringent than state law, including the assault weapons bans enacted by the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo. This vast prohibition of local control is unwarranted and fails to consider the differing challenges and circumstances faced by different communities and regions of the State.

“For these reasons, I am vetoing Substitute House Bill 347.”

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"Cities are out of the firearm regulation business," said Ken Hanson, legislative chairman for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Hanson said his organization worked with state legislators to remove all of law enforcement's objections. He was surprised by the last-minute Taft opposition to the bill's impact on local ordinances.

"Where did this come from? What's the need for this law? ... What's the case for that? I didn't see the case for it," Taft remarked today to the Dayton Daily News.

The language to which Taft now objects has been present in the legislation since its introduction over a year ago. Yet in the weeks before passage of the bill in the House last Spring, he made no mention of preemption among his concerns, which were all addressed by the House and Senate before sending him the bill.

From the Associated Press:

Ken Hanson, legislative chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said eliminating the local laws is a reasonable goal - and one that was in the bill for many months.

"Certainly, gun owners want to be able to travel throughout the state," he said. "Driving down here today, I passed through six municipalities. If I'd happened to have a firearm in my car, I have no idea as I drive along unless I look up those codes whether I'm legal or illegal."

Hanson said Ohio law is already robust enough to handle the vast majority of assault weapons cases without the local bans, noting there have been only two convictions under Toledo's assault weapons ban, one under Cincinnati's, and none under the one in Columbus.

"These objections on home-rule grounds are red herrings," he said.

HB347 would remove the "plain sight" restriction of carrying in an automobile, something only Ohio laws stipulates. It would also increase the penalties for "failure to notify" a police officer that you are armed during any stop. No other state has such harsh penalties for license holders.

The Governor's veto further illiterates how out of touch he is with the Ohio citizen, and indeed his own party.

From the Dayton Daily News:

"We've made every reasonable compromise at every step of the way to avoid the veto showdown," said Ken Hanson, legislative chair for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

From the Toledo Blade:

The Buckeye Firearms Association accused the governor of being inconsistent when defending the home-rule authority of local governments. It suggested he should also veto a bill that he generally supports that is moving through the legislature to increase public access to local records.

“This is an area of home-rule where local government is absolute and cannot be infringed, unlike firearm laws,” said Ken Hanson, the organization’s legislative chairman. “State-level public records laws are a clear infringement on home-rule authority delegated to municipalities to the extent the state dictates to municipalities how to meet, what paper to keep, and who they must give it to.”

Acting about three hours after Governor Taft announced his veto of HB347, the House of Representatives today overrode the Governor's veto by a vote of 71 to 21. The override is expected to move to the Senate this coming Tuesday.

"There was pent-up demand for this bill. I think people were just dying for this thing to go," said the chief of staff for House Speaker Jon A. Husted in the Columbus Dispatch this week.

"We would like to thank Rep. Aslanides, Whip DeWine, Speaker Husted and all others who worked through the process with us," Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson. "We made every effort to avoid this fight with Governor Taft, but we refuse to ignore his baseless actions. We look forward to the Senate taking similar action quickly."

Ohio Senate President Bill Harris has already told the news media that the votes are there for an override, and Sen. Steve Austria today told the Columbus Dispatch that “I believe we have the votes in the Senate to override. We have a statewide law with regard to gun permits, and I see no way to implement that law without the pre-emption, without causing more chaos within the law itself.”

Calls to your Senator asking for a vote in favor of overriding the Governor's veto are encouraged. You may write your Senator by clicking here.

News stories on the veto-override:


Akron Beacon Journal:

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