Legislation Legacy

House Bill 227 would allow all law-abiding Ohioans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit

Niko Pitinii and Mandalin Mitchell

When discussing gun control, it is vital that one views the issue from a legislative standpoint alongside their personal beliefs. The understanding of laws, as well as how citizens of all ages can make a difference in their country, allows voters to make informed decisions at the ballot box about how gun legislation will affect them and their future.
In Ohio, gun legislation has become increasingly more prevalent in conversation over the past year. In 2021, the Ohio House of Representatives proposed House Bill 227, “To amend sections 311.42, 1547.69, 2923.12, 2923.121, 2923.122, 2923.123, 2923.125, 2923.126, 2923.128, 2923.1210, 2923.1213, and 2923.16 of the Revised Code to generally extend the firearm possession provisions that apply to a concealed handgun licensee to also apply to a person who is age 21 or older and not prohibited by Ohio or federal law from possessing a firearm without need for the person obtaining a license,” according to the Ohio Legislature’s website.
The short title? “Regards concealed weapons and concealed carry without license.” The bill passed in the Ohio House 60-32 along party lines. At time of this issue’s publication, the bill is still in committee in the Ohio Senate.
Hoover senior Tess Rosler is a member of Bipartisan Club and discusses her belief the legislation may cause more harm than good.
“I think many people believe that concealed firearms allow them to be a ‘hero’ in the event of a dangerous situation,” she said. “However, in the majority of circumstances, firearms only cause further escalation. If someone wants to do violence, and they are able to get their hands on a gun rather than a knife, hammer, or less deadly weapon, they will be able to commit violence on a much larger and more dangerous scale.”
In Bipartisan Club, students discuss ways to become involved in the legislative process.
“Everyone should feel comfortable contacting their representatives,” she said. “No matter how young you are, your voice matters. If a student has a strong opinion regarding the gun control debate, there are so many ways to email/contact your local representatives. Local politicians like youth involvement, and are often willing to field questions and concerns.”
Gun murders “have climbed sharply in recent years,” according to a Feb. 3 article by Pew Research Center. “The 19,384 gun murders that took place in 2020 were the most since at least 1968, exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 recorded by the CDC in 1993. The 2020 total represented a 34 percent increase from the year before, a 49 percent increase over five years and a 75 percent increase over 10 years.”
Canton Court of Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione spoke about how gun legislation has changed over the course of his career.
“Well, I think it’s become more dangerous,” he said. “I think the gun legislation has become more liberal in a sense that now we have open carry and I think it’s created more danger for police officers and the community. People get angry and I call it the shoot first, ask questions [later] mentality. I’ve seen more felonious assault and murders in our courtroom because people had guns on them at the time.”
While he said he has not seen a change in his cases as a result of the bill, he explains how he believes it could change in the future.
“They have no duty to tell a police officer they have a gun when the police stopped them,” Forchione said. “And let’s be honest, the more guns that are out there, the more murders you’re going to see. I think that some young people feel they need to carry a gun for safety because they live in tough areas, and they seem to feel they need guns for protection. I think you are seeing more people carrying guns or having guns right at their home because there’s more fear of being safe. So, you also are seeing incidents of guns out of road rage. I think America has kind of lost their focus a little bit.” n