Three self-defense bills scheduled for further hearings, possible amendments & vote in House committee

Chairwoman Kristina Roegner (R-37) has announced that the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee will be hearing testimony on three self-defense bills on Wednesday, July 5 at 1:00p.m. in Room 115.

The committee will be taking up consideration of HB 142 (Repeal LEO notification). House Bill 142 seeks to repeal requirements that, when detained for a law-enforcement purpose, a concealed carry licensee must "promptly inform" an approaching law enforcement officer that the licensee is a licensee and is carrying a concealed handgun. In 2015, a study by ConcealedNation.org revealed that Ohio was in a vast minority of states that makes such a requirement of concealed handgun license-holders. This will be the fourth hearing for this important legislation, and the chair has indicated that possible amendments may be offered before a possible vote.

The committee will also be taking up consideration of HB 201 (Constitutional Carry). HB 201 seeks to have Ohio join the growing number of states which allow "constitutional" carry, or lawful carry of a concealed firearm without a license. The chair has indicated that possible amendments may be offered on this bill before a possible vote.

Finally, the committee will also be hearing testimony on HB 233 (DEFEND Act), a bill which seeks to decriminalize so-called “no-guns" victim zones for concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. This will be the third hearing for this important legislation, and given that opponents will be given the chance to testify, committee members are no-doubt in store for yet another round of "sky-is-falling" predictions that will never come to pass. The chair has indicated that possible amendments may also be offered on this bill before a possible vote.

In the DEFEND Hearing's second hearing on June 20, bill sponsor John Becker submitted an amendment to his original bill which he said accepts suggestions from prosecutors but preserves the spirit of the bill.

The changes, he said, add the word "knowingly" in terms of intent and change a proposed penalty of disorderly conduct to trespassing. The new version also changes the term firearm to deadly weapon.

Buckeye Firearms Association's Jim Irvine testified in support of the bill, saying no need has ever been shown for many of the restrictions on firearms. He informed the committee the bill overall reduces penalties and minimizes the potential that a person would face a crime for taking a gun to a location where they are prohibited.

Please contact your State Representative TODAY and politely urge him or her to support this pro-gun legislation.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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Following is Jim Irvine's proponent testimony on HB 233, delivered to the House committee on June 20:

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 H.B. 233.

We all enjoy many constitutionally protected rights. And we understand that the State may put restrictions on those rights. To properly do so, they must show a justifiable need for that restriction. You can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theater.

No need has ever been shown to restrict the constitutionally protected, individual right to bear arms in most of the places that Ohio law restricts people from having a firearm available to defend their life.There is serious criminal activity in Ohio. We are suffering through a drug epidemic. Serious crimes deserve serious (felony) punishment. It is a waste of law-enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial resources to criminalize an otherwise law-abiding citizen with a similar degree of crime for status offenses.

There is a huge difference between the crimes of rape, murder, arson, and a CHL holder walking into a church or library which happens to be a government building. The law should reflect that stark difference.

Sub. H.B. 233 makes the punishment fit the crime.

We have endorsed it and recommend its passage.

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