Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Brinkman weapons bill not expected to advance

Stricter proposal could be winner

By Travis James Tritten
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — A Cincinnati lawmaker's bill that would allow any Ohio adult to carry a concealed weapon has little chance of becoming law, legislators say.

        But a new, more-restrictive gun bill that will be introduced soon could win broader support.

        A bill drafted by Rep. Jim Aslanides, R-Coshocton, and expected to be introduced todayor Thursday, would require those who wish to carry a hidden gun to have a background check and firearms training. Felons, convicted drug traffickers and the mentally ill would not be permitted to carry weapons.

        Mr. Aslanides' legislation would be stricter than a concealed weapons bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, which has been criticized for its lack of restrictions.

        Mr. Brinkman's bill is modeled after Vermont gun law — considered the most permissive in the country — and would not require a permit, firearms training or background checks.

        “The fact that there's another bill out there has no effect on my bill,” Mr. Aslanides said.

        The Ohio Senate is also working on a companion concealed-carry bill, which would be nearly identical to Mr. Aslanides' bill.

        Lawmakers say such concealed weapons legislation has a better chance of passing in the House first, however, because the Senate will be busy absorbed with approving the state's budget.

        Mr. Brinkman remains unfazed by the move to introduce new gun legislation and the lack of support among key lawmakers, including Gov. Bob Taft.

        “All gun groups, including the NRA (National Rifle Association), support my bill,” Mr. Brinkman said.

        Ohio is one of only a few states that do not allow concealed weapons. Forty-three states have passed legislation permitting citizens to carry, including Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana.

        Key lawmakers who oppose Mr. Brinkman's bill — which is in the House Criminal Justice Committee — would support a bill with more stringent regulations.

        House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said Mr. Brinkman's bill will not pass because a majority of his members would not support it.

        Though he called the bill the least restrictive option for gun owners, Mr. Householder said Ohioans would have problems carrying their concealed weapons in surrounding states if Mr. Brinkman's bill passes.

        “As far as I know, the only other state that has this kind of law is Vermont,” Mr. Householder said.

        Speaker Pro Tempore Gary Cates, R-West Chester, said he favors a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons but not one modeled after the one in Vermont.

        Still, he said he would oppose a measure that requires people to register their guns. They should be allowed to carry them freely, he said.

        “We cannot deny people the right to protect their personal safety,” Mr. Cates said.


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