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House Bill 228 passes Ohio House [UPDATED: VOTE TALLIES]
Editor’s Note: This article is being updated as additional information becomes available.
HB 228 (Fix Burden of Proof/ Concealed Carry Modernization), sponsored by Representatives Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) has passed out of the Ohio House by a vote of 65 to 32.
Rep. Johnson thanked those who worked directly with legislators over the last two years to pass the bill, including Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohioans for Concealed Carry, BFA Board President Jim Irvine, the NRA, and NRA and BFA Board Members Sean Maloney and Linda Walker.
Before it was passed, the House defeated an attempt by a Democrat representative to amend the bill to insert gun control provisions desired by Governor John Kasich (R).
The concealed carry modernization bill has been debated extensively for over a year, and key provisions have been discussed for almost eight years in the legislature.
If enacted, the bill would:
- Correct Ohio law on burden of proof. Currently the Federal Government, U.S. territories, and 49 states have the burden of proving someone committed a crime to convict them and deny them their rights. The same is true in Ohio, in almost every situation. This change simply makes Ohio like every other state, and prosecution of someone who wrongly claims self-defense like every other criminal prosecution. Innocent until proven guilty. Simple stuff and the most important aspect of this bill.
- Eliminate “duty to retreat” from some sections of code. In Ohio and many other states, a person attacked in their home or car may defend their life. But in Ohio there are “duties” of the crime victim if they are in their own driveway between their home and car. Eliminating the “duty to retreat” will make the standard for defending one’s life uniform and not dependent on where the victim happens to be when they are attacked. It is important to note that it does not change the standard of what constitutes a deadly force threat or what constitutes a legal use of deadly force in self-defense or defense of another.
- Add a requirement that hands must be in plain sight “unless impractical” for license holders during an official stop by police. There are times when complying with officer’s instructions and the law are impossible to do at the same time.
- Eliminate the requirement of places that allow concealed carry to post signs prohibiting concealed carry. Yes, current law is that insane. Another fix that everyone should support.
- Prohibit public housing from denying tenants their right to lawfully-possessed firearms.
- Provide for a safe harbor for a spouse or other unlicensed individual driving a car that another person has left a firearm in.
- Eliminate the requirement for license holders to carry a second form of ID while in possession of a firearm.
- Increase penalties for people illegally buying a gun to sell to a prohibited person.
- Modernize Ohio’s definition of a shotgun to match Federal law and allow for possession of guns that are specifically approved by BATFE (such as the Mossberg Shockwave).
It has taken almost 23 months to get half way through the process. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it will need committee hearings, a committee vote, a full Senate floor vote. Then, if there are any changes it will go back to the House for a concurrence vote before moving on to the Governor. Any bills not enacted before the end of the year die and the entire process must start over again.
There is a lot of work to be done, but we are optimistic that a majority of the legislators see the need to make these common-sense changes to Ohio law. Our opponents will try to delay, distract, and confuse knowing that our timeline is tight, and the margin of error is very small. We are grateful to our members and supporters who by speaking with one clear voice help legislators see through the nonsense resistance to move this important legislation.
We thank Speaker Smith for his leadership, Chairwoman Kristina Roegner and members of the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, and every Representative who voted to pass this important legislation.
We look forward to working with the Ohio Senate and interested parties to further review this legislation and answer questions about it. Stay tuned to Buckeye Firearms Association for updates as the legislative process proceeds.
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,” the CCRKBA’s 2012 “Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award,” and the SAF’s 2015 “Defender of Freedom Award.“