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Tremendous Victory for the Second Amendment in Ohio:

A few minutes ago, the Ohio Senate voted 21-12 to override Republican Governor Bob Taft's veto of a bill to reform Ohio's gun laws. The Ohio House had previously voted 71-21 to override the veto of House Bill 347. Because both houses achieved the necessary 3/5 majority, the bill will become law in 90 days.

Today's vote is the first time that the Ohio legislature has overridden any veto since 1986, when a line-item budget veto was overridden. It is the first time since 1977 that a veto of an ordinary bill has been overridden.

The bill makes a variety of changes to Ohio's Shall Issue law for concealed handgun licenses. It explicitly prohibits local governments from creating no-carry zones, except in places where state law already forbids carryings. The bill also removes the requirement that concealed carry permitees must, when driving, keep the handgun in plain view in the car, or in a locked container.

Even more significantly, the bill eliminates over 80 anti-gun local ordinances, including bans on cosmetically-incorrect self-loading firearms (so-called "assault weapons") in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati. Like the vast majority of states, Ohio does not have an "assault weapon" ban, but Ohio has had more cities with local bans than has any other non-ban state.

As I detailed in a 2003 Issue Backgrounder for the Independence Institute, almost all states have some form of preemption law which restricts or prohibits local gun laws. The strong, ccomprehensive preemption law enacted in Ohio is the model used in about half of the states with preemption.

Some other features of the bill:

The bill begins: "The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio..."

The bill bans all local gun control laws which do not duplicate state or federal law. Litigants who bring a successful suit under the bill are entitled to attorney's fees.

Localites may still enact zoning laws which: 1. Ban gun stores in residential or agricultural areas. 2. Impose laws about hours of store operation, as long as those same laws are imposed on other non-gun stores.

In practical effect, the Ohio bill is the most significant roll-back of gun control that has ever been enacted by a state. Preemption laws swept the country in the 1980s, after Morton Grove, Illinois, banned handguns. In most state legislatures, the bills were intended to prevent future local gun bans, since there were few local bans that were in effect. I am not aware of any other state where a preemption law has wiped out so many local ordinances which were already on the books.

Among the Senators voting for the override was Democrat Marc Dann, the Attorney General-elect of Ohio. I knew Marc when he ran that Gary Hart campaign in Michigan in 1983-84, for which I was a volunteer. He is a good man with limitless energy.

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