COLUMBUS, Ohio – A vote was expected on Wednesday on House Bill 178 (HB 178), the state’s Constitutional Carry bill. It had its seventh hearing in the House Federalism Committee that included multiple amendments, five proponent testimonies and 25 opponents. The committee was forced to recess so members could attend session, and reconvened afterwards. Then Speaker Larry Householder pushed the pause button.
The speaker expressed concerns with an amendment to the bill that the committee had accepted earlier in the day. He posted the news on Facebook in late afternoon. A few hours later Speaker Householder posted a copy of the letter he’d received that caused him to halt the bill’s progress.
The letter references an amendment from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) that has had several iterations. The most recent version of the amendment would require gun dealers to provide purchasers with a “brochure” explaining Ohio’s gun laws. Since the state hasn’t passed “Stand-Your-Ground” legislation, law-abiding gun owners who do not retreat in life-threatening situations and fire their weapons in self defense can face prosecution.
Thus, Ohio Gun Owners objected to the amendment, saying it can “get gun owners killed.”
“My office received many emails from Ohio Gun Owners telling the House of Representatives not to allow HB 178 to be voted out with an amendment that requires gun dealers to pay for and distribute a pamphlet informing the purchaser of all of Ohio’s gun laws,” Householder said. “Ohio Gun Owners said in emails to my office that this amendment ‘can get gun owners killed.’ I take statements like that very seriously. The Federalism Committee met today and accepted that very same amendment.”
State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), chair of the Federalism Committee, heard all 10 amendments offered. Three were Republican amendments. One offered by the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville), was accepted, while another offered by State Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) was not. All the Democrat amendments were rejected.
The committee heard hours of testimony. Kristine Woodworth, co-chapter lead of Ohio for Moms Demand Action, was there with many red-shirted supporters. They are part of anti-gun activist and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s “Everytown for Gun Safety.” Woodworth said that “this bill is a solution looking for a problem.”
“We’re in favor of the current system which requires a license, background check and training,” she stated to The Ohio Star. “It’s not a constitutional right to carry your gun everywhere you go.”
Westerville City Councilman Alex Heckman testified against House Bill 178.
“Please don’t pass HB 178 and remove the requirements of personal responsibility,” he pleaded with the committee. “Your rights end when they infringe upon the rights of others.”
Thomas Austin from the Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association also spoke against the bill. He said his opposition was not anti-gun, but about what was reasonable. He also claimed the bill would allow some felons and misdemeanor violators with violent convictions to carry concealed firearms.
Chris Dorr of Ohio Gun Owners refuted that claim. “Any state conviction that results in losing your right to own firearms will prohibit you from legally carrying concealed under this bill,” he said.
The House Federalism Committee is expected to meet Wednesday, June 26, where it may consider HB 178 once again.
– – –