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Group warns of likely gun bill challenge



Published: Fri, December 1, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The measure would also affect local ordinances in Stow, Kent and Youngstown.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- The head of an advocacy group for cities says there could be a legal challenge to a recently passed bill that would allow for uniform concealed handgun laws across Ohio.

"We think they overreached," Susan J. Cave, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said Thursday of state lawmakers, who a day earlier passed the measure -- which would also wipe out municipalities' weapons bans and gun sales regulations.

"We also think it's an attack on home rule," Cave said.

Cave said she thinks it's possible the measure, if it becomes law, could be challenged in court.

State lawmakers passed the measure Wednesday; the Senate by a 19-10 vote and the Ohio House by a 74-14 tally.

Republican Gov. Bob Taft will veto the proposal when it hits his desk, Taft spokesman Mark Rickel said.

"He'll veto it," Rickel said. "He's expressed his concerns with the pre-emption provisions in the bill."

According to the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, which opposed the measure, at a minimum 80 ordinances from at least 20 local communities would be eliminated.

The measure would ban local governments from passing weapons bans that are more strict than state law. The measure would also supersede municipal bans on automatic weapons such as those passed in cities such as Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.

Youngstown ordinances

The measure would also affect local ordinances in Stow, Kent and Youngstown, according to the coalition.

State Sen. Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican who chairs the Senate committee that studied the measure, said the proposal lawmakers passed is reasonable.

"We have uniform crime statutes," said Jordan. "We have uniform oil and gas drilling regulations.

"There are certain issues that rise to a certain level where the state should have a say," said Jordan.

But state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, said he voted against the measure because of its pre-emption provisions. "I believe in local control," Hagan said.

Senate President Bill M. Harris, an Ashland Republican, said he hasn't determined whether he has the votes to override Taft's threatened veto. "We have haven't counted votes yet," said Harris.

House Speaker Jon Husted, a suburban Dayton Republican, couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday. Husted's spokeswoman, Karen Tabor, said based on the 74 votes for passage in the House, it appears the speaker has the votes to override a veto. A veto override requires approval from three-fifths of the 99 member Ohio House and 33 member Ohio Senate.

According to the roll calls, Mahoning Valley senators from our area voting no: Hagan of Youngstown, D-33rd.

House members from the Valley voting yes: Charles Blasdel of East Liverpool, R-1st; John A. Boccieri of New Middletown, D-61st; Kenneth A. Carano of Austintown, D-59th; Randy Law of Warren, R-64th.

House members from the area not voting: Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles, D-65th; Sylvester Patton of Youngstown, D-60th.




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