Ohio HB347 Becomes Law!

The outgoing horror known as the Governor of Ohio, Bob Taft, vetoed HB347. The House overturned it by a huge margin and just today the Senate passed it 21 – 12 (it only needed 20 to override). It will become law in 90 days. Odds are there will be some legal challenges that may hold up the whole thing or parts of it, more on that in a bit.
HB347 clears up a few things regarding Ohio’s Conceal Carry law. Most notably, the ill-conceived part of having to open carry in the car, which meant that you had to take the gun out of your holster and either lock it up, or open carry it. It is generally not advisiable to handle the gun that much, and Ohio law made people do just that, that now is fixed and you can conceal carry while driving. To make up for it, the penalty for not telling an officer that you are carrying if pulled over has gone up, which is fine since almost everyone complies with that part anyhow.
The part that may hang things up is that it also clears up the fact that the Concealed Carry law was intended to be a general law, and therefor override any city/town rules. However, many cities and towns made up their own rules that practically ignored the whole law together, making it confusing what the law was from city/town to city/town. This moves it to be the same as traffic laws where they are the same all over the state. Some cities however take their bans personally, and plan on suing to block the law from going into effect. Most notably, Cincinnati which has a tougher ban on some assault weapons that the state doesn’t ban. HB347 would bring bans like that in line with state laws, not just their conceal carry laws. Ohio has a Constitutional provision called Home Rule which allows cities/towns to make their own laws… however it can’t conflict with state laws. Odds are, even if they do sue to stop the law, it will be quickly overturned since HB347 has fairly clear language, which is all the Ohio Supreme Court says is needed to make a law a general law. (The OSC recently upheld, Cincinnati’s assault weapon ban due to the Home Rule provision, however the debate is if HB347′s language is what the court said is needed, most experts seem to think it is, this won’t stop them from suing, but you get the idea.)
There are a few other issues that need addressed. The provision that allows a news paper reporter to get the names and information of people who have concealed carry permits. The is a bill for that, I can’t recall what it is, but it isn’t up yet. The provision that stops people from carrying into any place that serves alcohol, even if it makes little from the alcohol. So places like Pizza Hut, Olive Garden and the like who make most of their money from food are off limits. The idea is to make a reasonable distinction between pubs and bars, and restaurants who may server alcohol, but derive most of their profit from food or other services, at which point said restaurant may choose to continue to ban conceal carry, but it would be their choice. Another big one is to stop the sheriff from considering expunged records when deciding if they will issue or not, since expunged is supposed to mean expunged and does little good if stuff considered expunged is still held against you.

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