Ohio governor standing in the way of progress

Last week, I wrote about the promising progress of a bill that would do a great deal to advance gun rights in Ohio. I also expressed my hope that Governor Taft would do the right thing and sign it into law (or at least do nothing, and allow it to become law). Well, the bill easily made it through the legislature, but Taft has vowed to veto it. I should have expected that–Taft has demonstrated his untrustworthiness many times.

The Gun Guys, of course, are piteously bleating their anguish about the bill. One of their objections is to the bill’s removal of the ridiculous “plain sight” requirement for guns in cars, citing the safety of police officers. What they don’t mention is that the Ohio State Police, on whose insistence that requirement had been included in the concealed carry law in the first place, have decided not to object to the bill (perhaps because they realize that anyone who is going to shoot a police officer is unlikely to hesitate to violate a silly “plain sight” requirement).

Luckily, if Taft carries out his threatened veto, it will likely amount to only a delay (and a short one, at that) in implementing this much needed legislation. The bill looks to have enough votes to override Taft’s threatened veto–it passed with an overwhelming margin in the state House, and only one vote short of the necessary 3/5ths majority in the Senate (with two strong supporters of the bill absent). Normally, veto overrides can be tough when the governor and both legislative chambers are of the same party (Republican, in this case), but that is probably not such an issue in this case. First, Taft is near the end of his time as governor, so legislators need not fear alienating him. Second, Taft has such a sordid reputation (including criminal convictions while in office, and an approval rating, at one point, of 6.5%) that even members of his own party want to distance themselves from him.

Even if the override fails, prospects for the bill are quite good. The upcoming changes in the legislature’s makeup should not pose much of an obstacle to passing the bill again next session, and Governor-elect Strickland has already expressed his support for the reform.

Taft may stand in freedom’s way, but he can’t stop it.

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