Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Legislation to decriminalize gun-free zones clears House, despite opposition

 

Legislation to decriminalize gun-free zones clears House, despite opposition

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

A bill that detractors consider, at best, a carve out of the state's existing concealed handgun carry law and, at worst, an assault on property rights cleared the Ohio House of Representatives recently.

House Bill 233, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Becker of Union Township, is intended to decriminalize gun-free zones for holders of a concealed handgun license.

It's Becker's belief and that of the bill's 51 cosponsors that licenseholders are vetted thoroughly enough, having passed background checks successfully and having been fingerprinted, photographed and trained, that they shouldn't be criminally penalized for entering a gun-free zone unknowingly or otherwise.

"For many, carrying their concealed firearm is second nature," the lawmaker said upon the bill's introduction. "As concealed handgun licenseholders are law abiding citizens and carry firearms for personal and community safety, codifying this standard procedure, practiced by officials in many government buildings, ensures that they will not be prosecuted unless they refuse to leave the premises."

HB 233 proposes that if a licenseholder with a concealed firearm is discovered in a designated gun-free zone, he or she must leave upon request.

Failure to do so would subject the violator to the charge of disorderly conduct with a potential penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Proponents of the measure believe the legislation maintains the rights of property owners, while codifying the common practice of allowing the offender the opportunity to leave.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, along with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, challenged the bill on the bases of protecting the rights of private property owners and maintaining safe workplaces.

"We strongly believe that HB 233 makes it significantly more difficult for our members to provide a safe work environment for their employees and customers and infringes on the private property rights of business owners," the chamber's Labor and Legal Affairs Director Don Boyd offered in testimony. "Under current law, an owner of private property, including a business, can post a sign prohibiting visitors, employees, and customers from carrying firearms onto their property.

"If an individual knowingly violates that prohibition, he or she can be charged and found guilty of criminal trespass."

The retail merchants organization argued the bill would leave business owners with new uncertainties regarding which policies they can enforce while also placing a new burden of confrontation if they choose to ask an individual possessing a firearm to vacate the property.

"Current law has provided Ohio with a balance between the rights of concealed carry holders and the rights of business owners," the council's Public Affairs Manager Alex Boehnke said.

John Hohenwarter, state liaison to National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, countered that HB 233 is, indeed, the compromise between property rights interests and individuals who exercise their right to self defense.

The bill, he said, finally recognizes the difference between a criminal who commits a violent crime and a concealed license holder who walks into a church or library which happens to be a government building.

"It goes without saying that some of Ohio's finest citizenry are concealed handgun license holders," Hohenwarter said. "These individuals are required to pass a background check, be photographed, fingerprinted and trained in gun safety and marksmanship proficiency.

"These law-abiding citizens should not be subject to the current criminal penalties because they choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights."

On behalf of the association representing Ohio police chiefs, John Gilchrist, legislative counsel, told lawmakers that HB 233 effectively eliminates all prohibited places that bar concealed handgun licenseholders from carrying.

"Licensees will knowingly and purposely carry into prohibited places knowing there will be no penalty if they leave when asked," Gilchrist said. "In addition, licensees understand that it is virtually impossible to prove that they knowingly carried into a prohibited place - a person can keep carrying into a prohibited places until he get caught and when he gets caught, he gets a pass.

"There is no mechanism whereby anyone, including law enforcement, will know of a second violation which apparently has to be committed at the same premises within 30 days before there could be a violation of the criminal trespass provision."

A retired law enforcement officer, who is also a U.S. Army veteran, argued on behalf of similarly situated individuals who legally carry a concealed handgun and are wheelchair bound.

"So, if I am armed and I am in a gun-restricted location, where do they expect me and others in the same situation to 'put' our weapons," retired Col. R.E. Jackon of Sharonville posed to lawmakers. "Do I deserve to be arrested for breaking the law?

"Wouldn't you want me armed with my training if there was an Incident?"

House members, by voting overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, offered a resounding "yes" to Jackson's query.

HB 233 awaits Senate consideration. A committee assignment had not been made as of publication.

Date Published: July 27, 2017

 

Copyright © 2017 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved

 

Task force seizes 400 pounds of marijuana, two arrested

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis, and members of the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force announced recently the seizure of approximately 400 pounds of marijuana in connection with an investigation into a large-scale marijuana distribution organization operating between Dayton and Columbus.

Ohio and U.S. Employment Situation (Seasonally Adjusted), June 2017

Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in June 2017, up from 4.9 percent in May 2017. Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 11,500 over the month, from a revised 5,517,300 in May to 5,528,800 in June 2017.

Man sentenced to 200 months in prison for role in cocaine trafficking conspiracy

Oscar Collado-Rivera, 32, of New Albany, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 200 months in prison for conspiring with others to distribute more than 150 kilograms of cocaine.

University of Cincinnati to study prevalence of human trafficking in Ohio

In collaboration with Gov. John R. Kasich’s Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) has awarded funding to the University of Cincinnati (UC) to assess the extent to which youth and children are exploited in Ohio.

Fact: Multiple 529 Plans work best for multiple kids

Families with more than one child may wonder if they need more than one 529 plan to save for their children’s future college costs. While it’s not necessary, the benefits of a 529 plan customarily can be amplified best if each child has their own 529 account. Why? Here are a few reasons.

When a loved one dies…who pays the bills?

Q: Who is responsible for paying the bills of a deceased person?

Attorney who misappropriated $363,000 permanently disbarred

A Columbus personal-injury attorney was permanently disbarred by the Ohio Supreme Court recently for misappropriating more than $363,000 in settlements funds, mostly by not paying parties, other than her clients, who were entitled to portions of the settlement.

OHFA announces 2017 Housing Tax Credit Program Recipients, awarding more than $25 million to create affordable housing options

At its July 19, 2017, meeting, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) Board announced the recipients of the 2017 Housing Tax Credit (HTC) program awards, used to fund the construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing communities throughout Ohio. Over $27 million in federal housing tax credits was awarded to 33 developments to create 1,698 housing units serving families, seniors and individuals with disabilities:

5 investment strategies that can outlast market spikes

(BPT) You're familiar with the saying "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is"?

Staying healthy while traveling overseas

(BPT) Each year, travelers from the United States (U.S.) head to popular destinations. And while many have Zika on their mind while traveling, and are aware of the need to bring sunscreen, bug repellant and other travel necessities, many don't know that cholera may be a bigger threat than they thought and most don't take the necessary measures to protect themselves from it.

Survey: More Americans see less media bias — but why?

Attention you so-called "enemies of the people" and alleged purveyors of biased reporting: There's reason to think fewer people than last year might see you that way, despite the ongoing, politicized attacks from multiple quarters on the news media's credibility.

No rights warnings required to question intoxicated driver in police vehicle front seat

Placing a suspect in the front seat of a police cruiser during a traffic stop does not alone determine if the officer needs to read the suspect his rights before questioning, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

The PUCO answers your questions about budget billing

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) would like to remind consumers that in addition to energy conservation and energy choice, budget billing is another way to manage your utility bills.

Seven men from Cuyahoga County indicted for firearms offenses

Seven men from Cuyahoga County were indicted on federal firearms charges, said Acting U.S. Attorney David Sierleja and Trevor Velinor, ATF Special Agent in Charge for the Columbus Field Division.

Proposal would allow medical first responders to carry firearms

A Cincinnati emergency room physician has joined first responders from around the Buckeye State to back a proposed bill that would provide for firearms training for tactical medical professionals, who would be allowed to carry a firearm in a concealed manner while on duty.

Applications now available for $3 million in Ohio law enforcement grants to address opioid epidemic

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced recently the application process is now open for Ohio law enforcement teams to apply for $3 million in new state grant money that will replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) to address the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

Simplify Your 529 Withdrawal Process

NOTE: This is the process for CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan accounts only. The process is different for Guaranteed Plan accounts. Here is guidance for withdrawals from the Guaranteed Plan.

Proposal designed to shore up Ohio's school workers' health care fund

The annual 3 percent cost of living adjustment guaranteed to Ohio's retired public school workers through the School Employees Retirement System, or SERS, is at stake if current law and funding remain unchanged, according to a northwest Ohio lawmaker.

4 strategies to grow your finances in retirement

(BPT) Retirement is the time in your life when you can throw off the shackles of your daily responsibilities and truly enjoy the fruits of everything you spent years working toward. It's an empowering feeling and you've earned it. You've planned and you've saved, but now that you're here, don't make the mistake of believing your financial planning is over.

SCC baseball player named OCCAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Sinclair Community College and the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) announced June 21 that freshman baseball player Blaze Glenn is this year’s 2016-17 OCCAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.