In April of last year, two Ohio representatives (Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman) introduced legislation (H.B. 178) to reform Ohio’s laws surrounding carrying a firearm in a concealed fashion. The legislation would acknowledge the 2nd amendment’s language that; “. . . the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” and would strike down an existing law that requires a person who is armed to inform a police officer such, in advance of being detained under reasonable suspicion. The legislation would be a correction to law that is currently codified making the right to bear arms a privilege that can be sold by the State to select individuals, and under a litany of other rules and conditions.
Opponents of concealed-carry are quick to point out that the State of Ohio allows for open-carry, and that such “allowance” is sufficient to fulfilling the clause in the 2nd amendment that explicitly enumerates the right to bear (carry) arms. Unfortunately, the reality of open-carry law does not pass the litmus test of legality in regard to other amendments in the Bill of Rights, specifically, the 4th amendment, which provides that a person can be secure in their person and effects without reasonable suspicion (that a crime has been committed) and until such time that a warrant is served. By “permitting” the exercise of the 2nd amendment conditionally, a substantial infringement has already been committed. Additional codification surrounding the bearing of arms makes it all but impossible to legally transport a firearm in a vehicle for the purpose of open-carrying, especially if one owns a truck. Considering that a person is most susceptible entering and exiting their vehicle; that the State would have a person disarm in the process of engaging in this most vulnerable task is bizarre to say the least. Not only does it create a possibility that the person could be robbed or car-jacked, it leaves the door wide open for a completely unnecessary firearm theft, or worse, for the person carrying to be shot with their own firearm. What is our open-carry law written for, people who walk everywhere?
H.B. 178 has now been through eight hearings in the House Federalism Committee. Yes, eight. After the last hearing, a vote passed that brought H.B. 178 out of the committee and back to the house. Rather than do the appropriate thing and hold a roll-call vote on the legislation, House Speaker Larry Householder has referred it to the Criminal Justice Committee where it has since remained for seven months, with no further action.
This game of political ping-pong is no surprise, considering that any republican in the House or Senate who would vote against it would presumably lose their seat. So what we appear to have is a case of failing to do their job as representatives, out of self-interest and self-preservation.
Some have said that the removal of the “duty to inform” clause is the problem, and that maybe the bill could be brought to vote if not for that issue. Notwithstanding that “duty to inform” is a 4th and 5th amendment violation, are we supposed to believe that these so-called representatives possess such a weak command of parliamentary procedure that they don’t possess the tools necessary to propose amendments and take actions that would get H.B. 178 to the floor for a vote? Are they really that inept?
There is a broad and growing coalition of Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, and yes, even Democrats that are organizing within the nation to push back against the ever increasing threat of the State to further restrict our inherent, immutable, and inalienable right to self-defense. They are doing so, by passing resolutions that make their home counties “sanctuaries” from State violations against the 2nd amendment (violations that may breach any number of other amendments including the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th – as is the case in red-flag law confiscations). This author invokes those organizations to speak with a unified voice in telling the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate to move quickly to reintroduce H.B. 178 to the floor for a roll-call vote so that the voters of Ohio know exactly who takes their oath of office seriously enough to be considered worthy of continuing to hold office after this year.
Contact your representatives and let them know, this is a line in the sand.