COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio lawmakers are looking at cutting the penalties for concealed-carry permit holders who don’t tell police that they have a weapon when they’re detained by authorities.
A House committee approved softening the penalties Tuesday, reducing them from a misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine to only a $25 fine.
The current penalties also could lead to violators losing their concealed-carry license.
Gun rights groups were hoping lawmakers do away with the penalties entirely.
“A logical explanation of how notification makes officers safe has not been provided by law enforcement,” said Gary Witt, legislative coordinator for Ohioans for Concealed Carry.
“Thirty-six states do not require notification, and there has not been a problem with officer safety in these states,” he said. “We believe that law enforcement claims of officer safety are false claims.”
James Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the compromise struck a reasonable balance.
Lawmakers also introduced a “stand-your-ground” proposal. It would eliminate a requirement in Ohio that says a person who claims self-defense in someone’s death must prove the claim is more likely true than false.
The proposal facing lawmakers would shift the burden on to prosecutors to prove that shooters claiming self-defense didn’t act to defend themselves.
“Current Ohio law is giving more legal protections to the perpetrators of violent crimes than to the victims of violent crimes,” said Sen. Joe Uecker, a Republican from Miami Township and one of the bill sponsors.
Many law enforcement groups oppose the idea.
Sen. Sean O’Brien, a Bazetta Democrat and former prosecutor, said that if a person who was shot dies, they can’t testify about who was the aggressor.