HB 191 had it's first reading today in Columbus. A bill that all Ohioans should support openly and loudly. My first impression of this legislation was pretty lacks until I realized the overall ramifications.
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I found through my own research that the only reference to a magazine round restriction was that restricting the use of a magazine that would provide more than 31 rounds before reloading and it's implications. Implying that if a larger than 30 rd magazine was inserted into a semi-automatic weapon it magically became under ORC a "machine gun" which we all know is just so stupid. But this is the only reference to magazine restriction under ORC and is used to prohibit the sale of magazines over 30 rds. to citizens of Ohio.
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Laws, Acts, and Legislation
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Following is Becker's (sponsoring legislator) testimony in its entirety:
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Greetings Chairman Damschroder, Vice Chairman Ruhl, Ranking Minority Member Mallory and fellow members of the committee:
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Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today to offer sponsor testimony for HB 191.
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A revolver fires one shot each time the trigger is pressed. A semi-automatic firearm fires one shot each time the trigger is pressed. The "automatic" part of the definition is that it automatically inserts the next round of ammunition into the chamber, something the revolver does not necessarily do. A fully-automatic firearm fires continuously (as long as there is sufficient ammunition) with one pull of the trigger. These are also commonly referred to as "machine guns."
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You all might recall HB 495 from the 129th GA. It was sponsored by Representative Johnson and signed into law. Amongst other things, it corrected the definition of a loaded gun to be a gun that is actually loaded. (The previous definition of a loaded gun included a detached magazine with ammunition loaded into it.)
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As a parallel to that, HB 191 corrects the definition of an automatic weapon to mean a weapon that is actually automatic. The Ohio Revised Code includes a sentence that [mis] defines an automatic weapon to include a semi-automatic that will "fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading." HB 191 simply deletes that sentence.
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The common man would consider it ridiculous to call any firearm "fully automatic" based on an arbitrary magazine size. For example, an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle doesn't suddenly become a machine gun by inserting a 40 round magazine. You would still have to pull and release the trigger 40 times.
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Furthermore, after filing the proper paperwork and passing an FBI background check, any law abiding citizen can obtain a federal tax stamp for the purpose of owning a fully automatic Uzi, M16, or other machine gun. After fulfilling all necessary requirements and paying for the federal tax stamp, any of us could legally own a fully automatic Uzi and use it with magazines of any size.
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To reiterate, with the proper documentation, under both federal and Ohio law, we can own machine guns with magazines of any size. There are no capacity limitations. However, Ohio law makes it impossible for any individual to legally insert a fully loaded 40 round magazine into any semi-automatic firearm. Again, Ohio law places restrictions on magazine capacity attached to semi-automatic firearms only not machine guns.
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Being as large capacity magazines are legal to own and readily available for a wide variety of semi-automatic firearms, HB 191 would not make it any easier to acquire the firearms or the magazines. It simply deletes one sentence from the Ohio Revised Code correcting an incorrect definition in our code. Restrictions on fully automatic firearms would remain unchanged. HB 191 aligns Ohio law with federal law on these definitions.
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In conclusion, I'd like to thank you for your attention and I am asking you all for your affirmative vote on HB 191.
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We have legislators who are doing good things to the benefit of law abiding gun owners and they deserve our appreciation and support.