The Ohio state Senate today passed into law a pro-gun bill that will make it legal to bring a gun onto the statehouse grounds. But right before its passage, the most dangerous provision of the legislation — that would have reformed concealed carry laws — was stripped, likely thanks to efforts by the Ohio police.
Originally, the bill contained another iteration of so-called “reciprocity” laws, lobbied for heavily by the National Rifle Association, that aim to make concealed carry permits issued in one state valid in another. This means someone who obtained a permit to carry in Virginia, for example, could just continue to carry a firearm around when they moved to Ohio.
But the effort was halted last minute, likely because of the opposition from Ohio’s law enforcement. State police came out strongly against the bill, noting the problem with flat-out acceptance of other states’ gun laws, instead of requiring all people in Ohio to undergo Ohio’s training program:
The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio oppose the bill. Mike Weinman, director of government affairs for the FOP of Ohio, said automatic reciprocity circumvents Ohio’s training standards, which include at least 10 hours of class time and two hours of range time. He said he also doesn’t know how thorough the background checks are in other states. “We don’t want untrained people in our bars and strip clubs engaging in firefights in crowded rooms without any type of training,” he said.
Weinman’s point is valid: Ohio’s laws are already so lax that any permit holder can enter an establishment that sells alcohol with a concealed weapon, as long as they don’t drink — a restriction that is not easy to track.
The NRA has been pushing for similar legislation around the country, including in the U.S. Congress where a similar reciprocity measure was proposed by the GOP. These laws have been continuously rejected, however, by legislatures with concerns like those of Ohio’s police force.
Lawmakers in Michigan also sided with police today against another dangerous, NRA-backed law. The law would have removed a background check requirement for those buying handguns from unlicensed buyers, a move that Michigan state police feared might allow the mentally ill, domestic abusers, and felons the ability to obtain a firearm.