Thursday, December 18, 2003

Taft hopes for concealed carry deal

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft said Wednesday he's hopeful a compromise on legislation allowing Ohioans to carry concealed weapons can still be reached.

Taft raised the possibility less than a week after insisting he would veto a bill approved by lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session this year.

Taft, a Republican, said his staff is talking with House Republicans about a deal to support the governor's requirements that weapons records be made public.

If the deal is reached, two bills would go to Taft.

He would sign both, with the second upholding the public records provision.

Taft initially wanted the names of and other limited information about people with concealed weapons permits to be public.

After lawmakers balked, a compromise was reached with the Senate: Reporters could request the entire list of names from a county sheriff.

The House refused, and offered a narrower proposal allowing reporters, on a case-by-case basis, to ask if a particular person was on the list.

Taft rejected that idea as too limiting.

"I'm not changing my position at all," Taft said Wednesday.

"We're not looking for a common middle ground here. I've gone as far as I can go in the proposal to the Senate."

The bill now headed for Taft allows Ohioans to receive a permit after undergoing a background check and proper training.

The bill also removes a provision of law that makes people arrested for carrying a hidden gun to prove it is essential for safety reasons.

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