In a historic action, the Ohio General Assembly has overridden Governor Kasich's ill-advised veto of H.B. 228. The House override was on a 67 to 22 vote. The Ohio Senate override was on a 21 to 11 vote.
Even though John Kasich used all his political power and even used political gamesmanship, he could not stop the legislature from doing the their job, and executing the will of the Ohio people.
The law contains many powerful improvements for Ohio's 4 million gun owners. Here are a few:
- Shifts the burden of proof back to the prosecutor so that you are innocent until proven guilty. Ohio is the only state in the U.S. that makes gun owners guilty until proven innocent in matters of self defense.
- Strengthens "preemption" provisions in Ohio law that prevent local governments from passing their own gun laws.
- Aligns the definition of "shotgun" to mirror Federal law to end the confusion about the Mossberg Shockwave and similar firearms that are currently legal under federal law but illegal under Ohio state law.
- Eliminates the requirement to post no-gun signs in locations which have authorized the carrying of firearms.
- Puts teeth into the law so that authorities can prosecute criminals who make "straw" purchases for felons.
We thank Speaker Ryan Smith and President Larry Obhof for their excellent leadership though a very difficult process. If it were not for their excellent management, today could not have happened.
Special thanks are also due to Representative Terry Johnson, one of the best bill managers we have ever worked with (and who is leaving the House because of term limits), and also to Representative Sarah LaTourette, who needed to carry a lot more water than a typical joint sponsor of a bill. Through a long and difficult road, they never quit working to see this bill to the finish line. (An unsung hero is Chynna Brady, aid to Rep. Johnson, who stepped into the ring in the middle of this fight and has worked more than she ever expected, overcome obstacles few aids ever see and assisted her boss at all hours of the day and night.)
Buckeye Firearms Association also wishes to thank Senators Joe Uecker and Jay Hottinger for their work in the Senate as co-sponsors of companion legislation, which turned into a lot more work than is typical of that role. Sen. Uecker did everything we could ever ask of him.
Additonally, we wish to recognize Madam Chair Kristina Roegner and Chairman Bill Coley, both of whom dealt with a host of issues in their respective House and Senate committees, and never wavered in their effort to bring the best bill they could to a vote. The hours they worked will never be known by the millions that will benefit from their work.
We also wish to thank every legislator (and their staff) who changed their Christmas season plans to be in the Statehouse today, during what should have been family time, to cast a vote and do the work that was made necessary by a spiteful, lame duck Governor. They deserve a lot better from our governor, but they rarely complained and just did their jobs. Today showed how great our state can be because of the people we have working in the Statehouse.
The law will go into effect 90 days after enrollment, or about 91 days from today. We will have a final date and further analysis on the bill soon.
Thanks to all our supporters who took the time to make your voice heard. You were heard, and today we have the result of your efforts.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award," and the SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award."