House overrides veto of concealed-gun bill
State Rep. John Boccieri was one of those who voted to support the governor.
By JEFF ORTEGA
COLUMBUS -- The Ohio House of Representatives overrode Gov. Bob Taft's veto of a bill that would allow for uniform concealed-handgun laws across Ohio.
The GOP-led House voted 71-28 to override the governor's objections on the measure that would also wipe out municipalities' weapons bans and gun sales regulations, despite the Republican governor's objections.
"I don't think there's been an issue that's been more grass roots," said state Rep. Jim Aslanides, a Coshocton Republican who sponsored the bill.
State Rep. Dan Stewart, a Columbus Democrat, however, said he thinks the measure unfairly infringed on cities' rights.
Fourteen Democrats joined 57 Republicans in overriding the governor's veto.
Meanwhile, all 21 votes against the override were from Democratic members, including Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-61st.
A veto override requires approval from three-fifths of both chambers of the Legislature -- 60 votes in the 99-member Ohio House and 20 votes in the Ohio Senate.
Effect on cities
Advocates for cities say that if the measure becomes law, it would infringe upon so-called "home-rule" powers of cities. City advocates say if the measure becomes law, it could be challenged in the courts.
Taft, a two-term governor who's coming to the end of his tenure, said he vetoed the measure because it would pre-empt local gun regulations and eliminate local cities' weapons bans.
"In so doing, the act nullifies many local municipalities' gun regulations that are more stringent than state law, including the 'assault weapons' bans enacted by the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo," Taft wrote in his veto message.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol had opposed a provision in the bill that would remove a requirement that drivers keep handguns in plain view during traffic stops.
The patrol relented on their position for increased criminal penalties for a driver who fails to inform a law officer that a gun is inside the motor vehicle.
The criminal penalty would increase from a fourth- to a first-degree misdemeanor with a two-year gun permit suspension.
Right to bear arms
State Rep. Stephen P. Buehrer, a northwest Ohio Republican, said the measure is needed, however.
"Ohioans have the right to carry weapons concealed and to bear arms," Buehrer said.
"If we're going to allow the citizens to exercise their rights, we've got to do it in a clear and understandable manner [across the state]," said Buehrer, who voted to override the veto.
"This issue wasn't about concealed carry," said Boccieri, a Democrat. "It was about overriding the governor's veto, and I just think this issue didn't merit overriding that veto."
Among the ordinances that could be impacted include those in Youngstown, Stow and Kent.
This was the first House vote to override a veto since Feb. 28, 1990, said the House Clerk's Office.
Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, an Ashland Republican, couldn't immediately be reached to comment Thursday on whether the GOP-led Senate would consider overriding Taft's veto.