Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
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Shoot 'em down

In one of his final acts as speaker of the Ohio House, state Rep. Armond Budish can and should stop legislative gun enthusiasts from going too far to loosen restrictions on carrying concealed weapons.

A last-minute maneuver in the General Assembly's lame-duck session would invoke little-used rules to force House floor votes on the gun bills.

The measures would enable holders of concealed-carry permits to bring guns into bars, restaurants, and open-air arenas that serve alcohol, would ease restrictions on how gun owners store their weapons in cars and trucks, and would make it easier for Ohioans with minor criminal convictions to get carry permits.

These changes hardly would enhance public safety.

Although the Senate has approved the gun bills, a House committee has not held hearings or voted on them. There is no urgent reason to bypass the General Assembly's usual process for considering legislation.

Regrettably, outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland, has said he would sign the bills if they reach his desk. As he prepares to leave office, the governor might reconsider the relative importance of his support by the National Rifle Association and the security of all Ohioans.

But that need not become an issue. The procedure used to discharge the gun bills from the House committee requires a two-day waiting period before a floor vote.

Time is on Speaker Budish's side. Since lawmakers do not seem disposed to take up other major legislation in the lame-duck session, the speaker can end the session and prevent votes on the gun bills. He has plenty of ammunition to do so.

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