Good news out of Ohio, where lawmakers on Thursday evening approved legislation dealing with the right-to-carry, sending the bill on to the state Senate for consideration. HB 425 deals with a specific issue for those who have their concealed carry license: when are you supposed to inform an officer that you’re legally armed?
Right now, the law says that CHL holders are supposed to “promptly” inform police that they’re lawfully carrying, but Second Amendment supporters say that language is vague and subjective. Under the proposal in HB 425, it would be up to law enforcement to ask whether the person they’re talking to is armed. That seems like a pretty logical step to take, but Democrats in Columbus objected to the proposal during debate on Thursday, claiming the chance would people in danger.
Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster, said the word “promptly” is too vague because different officers have different interpretations of what that means.
“This has intruded on the constitutional rights of too many Ohioans,” Wiggam said.
Rep. Joe Miller, D-Amherst, responded by saying now is not the time for a bill that potentially increases the tension between law enforcement and Ohioans.
“This bill does not correct an unconstitutional policy, nor does it increase the safety of our citizens or peace officers,” Miller said. “Now is the time to bring unity rather than division.”
Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, said, “As protesters continue to march across the country, there have been calls from law enforcement for communities to work alongside them to bridge racial divides and rebuild together. However, HB 425 is not working with police. In fact, it’s pushing through something that makes them less safe on the job while potentially putting even more black lives at risk.”
The grandstanding by Democrats on this issue is really pathetic, particularly given the fact that the bill will provide a clear standard for officers, rather than allowing a subjective determination as to whether or not they were “promptly” informed that someone was legally carrying. This bill won’t increase any risk to police officers, and it may very well help to defuse or de-escalate situations involving concealed carry holders and law enforcement.
In fact, I think it’s fair to call this a police reform bill, given that the main thrust of the legislation is to reign in potential abuses by law enforcement. You’d think that alone would be enough to garner some Democrat support for the measure, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case in the Ohio House. Now that HB 425 is moving over to the state Senate, perhaps it will start to receive the bipartisan support that it deserves, though I’m not holding my breath.
An issue that is receiving bipartisan support in the Buckeye State is the failure of the criminal justice system to actually prosecute career criminals who violate the state’s gun laws. Buckeye Firearms Association executive director Chad Baus is out with a column today agreeing with Columbus Dispatch columnist Theodore Becker that gun control laws are “pointless” if they’re not actually enforced.
Becker’s column centers around the recent bust of a drug and gun trafficking ring. 48-year old Christopher Conley is now facing a variety of federal charges, but Becker notes that Conley’s repeatedly been able to avoid consequences for his crimes over the years.
Between 1992 and 2012, Conley was charged four times with carrying a concealed weapon without a license and the more serious charge of having a weapon under disability.
The weapons-under-disability charge was dropped the first three times, in what appeared to be plea deals in exchange for guilty pleas to carrying a concealed weapon.
As Baus says in response:
Theodore Decker and the Columbus Dispatch seem to have finally stumbled on the truth – gun laws ARE pointless if not enforced. Hopefully they’ll bring this point up the next time they’re interviewing officials who refuse to enforce existing law, yet repeatedly claim the need for still MORE gun control laws.
I’d love to see Democrats and Republicans work together on this issue in Columbus. As long as we’re talking criminal justice reform, we should be talking about the staggering number of plea bargains that allows too many career criminals to skate with a slap on the wrist, even after multiple arrests and convictions.