Thursday, June 26, 2003

Concealed weapons bill may be dead; negotiations dissolve

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Negotiations on a bill that would allow Ohioans to carry hidden guns broke off Wednesday, leaving its chances of passage remote before lawmakers break for the summer today.

The bill would require sheriffs to issue permits to those who pass a background check and safety course and pay a $45 fee.

The House wants to allow people charged with carrying weapons without a permit in cars to try to convince a judge that the weapon was necessary for a job or personal safety.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol opposed that part of the bill as a threat to officer safety. There would be no record of the car owner having a weapon, the agency noted.

The patrol's position was crucial to Gov. Bob Taft's support.

The agency lifted its opposition to the bill last week when the Senate version required guns in vehicles to be holstered in plain view or locked up.

Rep. Jim Aslanides, the bill's sponsor, said a meeting with representatives from the patrol and Taft's office ended without either side budging from their positions.

House Speaker Larry Householder said he was disappointed the House was negotiating with Taft and not the Senate. Senate President Doug White said he was hopeful talks among all the parties would continue, but he had no plans to call the Senate back before September.

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