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Published: Wednesday, 11/29/2006

Taft expected to veto state handgun bill

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS Gov. Bob Taft is expected to veto a bill that would ease restrictions on those carrying concealed handguns, while preventing Toledo and other cities from enforcing tougher gun laws. The measure moved rapidly through the Ohio General Assembly today.

It s likely the bill will be vetoed, said Taft spokesman Mark Rickel. For months, the governor has voiced concerns over the preemption part of the bill. Legislators have proposed far-reaching preemption provisions that would eliminate current laws on weapons, sales and possession.

Although it has threatened at times, the General Assembly has never overridden a Taft veto, a relatively rare event. The bill passed both chambers today with veto-proof margins of 19-10 in the Senate and 74-14 in the House, but it remains to be seen whether those super-majorities would hold up when, or if, it comes to overriding the veto of a governor in his last days in office.

Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D., Cleveland) characterized today s vote as the death of home-rule.

Eighty local municipal ordinances passed by duly elected citizen legislators in each of our many home-rule counties will be wiped out by this bill today just because we don t like them, he said.

Among the 80 ordinances are several in Toledo dealing with such issues as banning assault weapons and so-called Saturday Night Specials, photo identification cards for gun owners, and safe gun storage.

The votes crossed party lines. The sole no votes from northwest Ohio belonged to Toledo Democrats-Sen. Teresa Fedor and Reps. Edna Brown and Peter Ujvagi.

Supporters of the law had argued that local ordinances create a patchwork of different gun laws, putting people in the position of being in compliance with the law when passing through one city but in violation while passing through another.

We re not a city state, said Sen. Tim Grendell (R., Chesterland). We re the state of Ohio where the constitution applies to every resident. You don t give up a right when you cross a municipal boundary...We do not violate home rule when we pass legislation that supports and reaffirms rights granted by the constitution.

The bill eases current restrictions in Ohio s two-year-old law allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns on themselves and in cars, purses, briefcases, and backpacks after undergoing background checks and training.

So far, some 70,000 Ohioans have gotten concealed-carry permits.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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