by Chad D. Baus
The House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee has passed House Bill 203 with a 8 - 4 vote.
Cosponsors: Representatives Henne, Gonzales, Adams, J., Conditt, Retherford, Maag, Hottinger, Terhar, Brenner, Beck, Lynch, Sprague, Becker, Derickson, Wachtmann
Voting for the bill were Representatives Mike Dovilla (R, Committee Chairman), John Adams (R) Jim Buchey (R), Louis Blessing III (R), Andrew Brenner (R), Jack Cera (D), Matt Huffman (R), and Rick Perales (R).
Voting against the bill were Representatives Kathleen Clyde (D), Michael Curtin (D), Teresa Fedor (D) and Ronald Gerberry (D).
Rep. Dorothy Pelenda (D) has not yet voted but may do so yet today.
Before the vote, Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson offered proponent testimony.
HB 203 seeks to make many improvements to Ohio's concealed carry laws.
The bill would strengthen the background checks required to obtain an Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL). Under the bill, Ohio concealed handgun license (CHL) applicants would be a National Instant Check System (NICS)-compliant background check, making it compatible with more states. This improvement will also help prevent people with mental health disqualifiers who have been entered into the federal database from obtaining a CHL.
The bill would also move Ohio to an automatic reciprocity system, relieving the Attorney General from needing to sign agreements with every state to facilitate reciprocity. The Attorney General would still be permitted to sign agreements if needed, but the bill seeks to streamline the process and open up agreements with states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Georgia that Ohio doesn't currently have agreements with.
The bill would also update the requirements and disqualifications to obtain an CHL. Currently there are different standards to possess a gun under federal and state law, and different still to obtain a CHL. HB 203 harmonizes Ohio law with federal law so that someone who is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm will not be issued a CHL. Ohio would also be able to issue licenses to out-of-state residents, something many other states already do.
Under the bill, the current topics required for Ohio CHL training would remain, but the mandate that an instructor spend 12 hours covering the topics that can be covered adequately in less time would be reduced to four hours.
Finally, HB 203 seeks to modify the state's self-defense law. Current law specifically states that a person has no duty to retreat before using deadly force if that person is in their own home or automobile. HB 203 would expand that to anyplace that a person lawfully has the right to be. >>more from buckeyefirearms<<