Last Minute House Session Includes Re-Referral of Constitutional Carry


Sunday’s last-minute House session focused on the quick passage of two budget extension bills. There was also a little-noticed re-referral of House Bill 178, the Constitutional Carry bill, to a new committee – Criminal Justice.

The bill sponsors had no comment.

Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, a staunch supporter of Constitutional Carry, did have some words to share.

“Sending Constitutional Carry ‘to the committee with the lawyers in it,’ as Speaker Householder stated Sunday evening, is like throwing a lamb into a pack of wolves.”

“It’s very disturbing, and it seems like the new boss is looking an awful lot like the old boss, because the special interest groups who hate gun rights are lining up now to carve up Constitutional Carry like a Thanksgiving turkey.”

One reason, several legislators heard from the Speaker, for re-referring the bill to Criminal Justice was “for additional vetting.” The chairman of the committee that already held multiple hearings on HB 178 does not believe that is necessary.

“After eight hearings on HB 178, the bill was extensively vetted by the Federalism Committee,” said state State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township). “The committee is of the opinion that the bill should be advanced to the Senate for their consideration and vetting.”

In addition to the eight hearings, there were nearly 200 individuals and organizations who shared testimony, in person and in writing, with the Federalism Committee members. Proponents, opponents and interested parties testified for dozens of hours. In the seventh hearing, 10 amendments were offered, two were accepted.

Ohio Gun Owners and bill sponsors had concerns about an amendment from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). Ohio Gun Owners shared those concerns with Speaker Householder. As a result, the Speaker called for the amendment to be removed and asked the committee to wait a week before voting on the bill to ensure there would be time to take the amendment language out.

The Federalism committee met the following week and on June 26 a majority of members present voted to remove the Koehler amendment. Following that vote, the committee approved passage of HB 178, sending it to Rules and Reference Committee with the expectation it would be placed on the House Calendar for a full House vote, then proceed to the Senate.

That’s not what happened. HB 178 will have to go through the committee process again starting from square one.

“Lawyers are terrible people,” Dorr commented in reference to the Criminal Justice Committee. “And to let them whack away at such beautiful legislation is a travesty gun owners will keenly remember throughout the election process.”

Sixteen states currently have Constitutional Carry laws. Kentucky was the most recent state to enact it, which the National Rifle Association announced via Instagram. Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY) signed Senate Bill 150 into law on March 11, 2019.

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Conceal Carry Permit” by Clinger Holsters. CC BY-ND 2.0.







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  1. […] 178 passed out of Becker’s Federalism Committee, only to be sent to yet another committee for further […]