Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Ohio Legislature Overrides Kasich' Veto of Gun Law Reform

Image from cleveland19

The Ohio legislature has passed an override of Governor Kasich' veto of HB 228. There are several major reforms in Ohio's  HB 228.

One provision is to strengthen Ohio's preemption statute. Ohio, as with most states, has a law that reserves statutory authority about firearms to the legislature. Local governments and regulatory bodies are not allowed to make a crazy quilt of ordinances and regulations to prevent the exercise of Second Amendment rights in the State.

Local governments refused to repeal ordinances that infringed on second amendment rights, producing a chilling effect on the exercise of those rights.

A provision in the previous statute provided for the recovery of costs and attorney's fees when cities were sued, to provide incentive for them to follow the law.   Several cities changed their local ordinances as a result.

Some cities used a loophole in the law to discourage further lawsuits.  They refused to change the law, fighting the effort in court until the last minute, wasting city resources and costing those challenging their illegal actions as much money as possible.  Then, before a court ruling was made, the city council would repeal the statute. This rendered the lawsuit moot, preventing the plaintiff from recouping  costs and attorney's fees.

HB 228 closes that loophole.  The entity sued for damages has to pay if:
(2) The ordinance, rule, regulation, resolution, practice, or action or the manner of its enforcement is repealed or rescinded after the civil action was filed but prior to a final court determination of the action.
The number of actions forbidden by local governments was increased to prevent word games.  For example, the old statute protected the ability to
".. own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any part of a firearm its components, and its ammunition"

HB 228 changes the statute to add more protections:
".. own, possess, purchase, acquire, transport, store, carry, sell, transfer, manufacture, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.
Ohio now forbids local governments from infringements on acquiring, carrying, and manufacturing.  Consider the mischief local governments might do by passing a local ordinance against carrying a firearm, or reloading (manufacturing) ammunition. 

HB 228 also changed the burden of proof in self defense and defense of others to the defacto standard in 49 other states.

Now, the prosecutor has to prove the defendant did not act in self defense, instead of the defendant having to prove they did act in self defense.

The law shifts the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defense to the prosecution. It had strong support from pro-gun groups, who said this would put Ohio in step with every other state in the country.

On Thursday, the Ohio House and Ohio Senate each voted with a two-thirds majority to overturn Kasich's veto.

Buckeye Firearms Association President Jim Irvine said shifting the burden ensures that someone is "innocent until proven guilty… one of the pillars of our nation's legal system.”

Arizona instituted the Ohio version of the law, from 1997 to 2006. The change resulted in the debacle of the Harold Fish case. The Arizona legislature reversed that decision, but Harold Fish spent years in prison.

The Arizona Legislature passed laws, three different times, to require a new trial, before Harold Fish was released from prison. The prosecution chose not to prosecute a new trial.

HB 228 aligns Ohio's definition of "shotgun" with federal law, to include the federal ruling the Mossberg Shockwave and similar firearms are not illegal under National Firearms Act rules.

HB 228 removes the requirement for "no gun" signs in places that allow the legal carry of firearms.

HB 228 enhances penalties for people who "straw purchase" firearms  for felons.

HB 228 will become effective 90 days after enrollment, probably on the 27th of March, 2019.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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