Ohio House to consider bill to allow communities to permit guns in buildings with courtrooms
When state lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving break, the House could take up a bill that further expands gun rights in Ohio, by allowing people to carry weapons into buildings that have courtrooms in them, but not when court is in session. The bill passed a House committee and is on its way to the floor.
Rep. Adam Mathews (R-Lebanon), one of the bill's two sponsors, said state law already allows municipalities to vote to allow concealed carry in their buildings.
"Our larger cities have distinct courthouses and city halls," Mathews said. "However, in many of our smaller communities, good stewardship of taxpayer dollars often means a single multi-purpose city or village hall. This city hall may house the tax department, the electric department, council chambers, and a room that is sometimes a courtroom."
The bill would allow concealed carry weapons in those buildings with courtrooms when court is not in session, if a community passed legislation to permit that.
But opponents have said courtrooms are emotionally charged places, so guns should be far away from them. And Ann Morhan of Moms Demand Action told the House committee hearing the bill it’s part of a continuing trend that worries her.
“It would appear that this House Bill 272 is just another attempt by Republican legislators to continue to pepper the state with guns," Morhan said. "It is a solution in search of a problem."
Right after that bill passed along party lines, another Republican-backed bill was approved that ensures federal gun control laws can’t be enforced and would allow Ohioans to sue. Supporters say it would make Ohio a so-called "Second Amendment sanctuary state", as nearly 20 other states are. That bill is opposed by law enforcement and prosecutors who say it will make it harder to work with federal authorities to solve crimes.