Friday, May 28, 2010

Ohio Restaurant and Car Carry reform bill passes

Ohio has peculiar laws about how people with licenses are allowed to carry a loaded gun in a motor vehicle. (we also have a bizarre definition of loaded that includes an empty gun with a loaded magazine anywhere in the car)  Basically we have a handful of  discrete choices--locked container, closed container in plain sight, glovebox or console, or in a holster on your person. Anything else is a 5th degree felony, as is intentionally touching your gun. Stupid and largely unenforceable law.

We also are one of the few remaining states that does not allow carry where alcohol is served.

Ohio just passed Senate Bill 239 this afternoon, and I watched much of the testimony. Some of the senators in favor were showboating a bit, but were at least logical. We heard recaps of testimony from committee hearings, where former Texas legistlator Suzanna Hupp lost her parents when similar laws caused her to leave her gun in her car, where a Dayton-area resident and license holder was robbed at knifepoint when she had to leave her gun in her car to pick up a pizza, and where a Tennessee woman with a license watched her husband get executed by a stalker when similar laws kept her gun in her car.

Most of those against were from big-city districts--Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland. The most sensible argument was that some law enforcement organizations are against the bill. Quite a bit of the rest was irrelevant, basically trying (largely unsuccessfully) to find some of the standard "I support the Second Amendment but we need to get rid of guns" arguments to fit this case.   "how will we keep people from twirling their guns as they drive".  We also heard "guns and alcohol don't mix" over and over--until those who were for the bill said "That's right--that is why the bill doesn't allow drinking while carrying". 

Senator Ray Miller started ranting incoherently about AK 47's, and the police being out-gunned by 9mm's, neither of which have anything to do with this bill.

Another Senator rambled on about his daddy who carried a gun in his overalls, and would always lock it in the glovebox to go to the Piggly Wiggly or Winn-Dixie, and for the safety of police officers why would we want to carry any other way but in a locked container, or a closed container, or a glovebox, or ...holstered.  He repeated that more than once, with the same pause and mumble of "holstered".

My own senator Strahorn rambled on  "both sides have points, reasonable people can disagree" before coming down against the bill.  If I didn't know his record, it would have taken several minutes to figure out which side he was on.  I'm glad I'm likely to have a chance to vote against him someday.  His district is a weird gerrymandered thing that covers my county, half of the next county west, both mostly rural and small town--but with a tentacle reaching into Montgomery county to attach Dayton and the surrounding urban area that while considerably smaller geographically has more population.

There were several examples of past gun misconduct, either by license holders or by people in bars--but none of the misconduct would be made legal by this bill.  There were also the typical "what if..." and "disagreements lead to bloodshed" hysterics, as if we don't have quite a bit of information from other states showing that both restaurant carry and simplified car carry don't cause trouble.   It was obvious both from testimony and from the results of the vote (roughly 75% in favor) that those opposed were just anti gun in general and not weighing the specifics.

Next I hope we can get this through the House.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Ohio code is tricky and the punishment for violations are even more tricky to understand. You nailed them both.