Ohio Speaker Cupp Ignores Rep Keller Request to Take Up House Gun Bill, Instead House Opts for Senate Version of Stand-Your-Ground


Former Ohio State Representative Candice Keller (R-Middletown) attempted to bring two pieces of legislation to the House floor for consideration and vote at the end of a marathon session but was virtually ignored by Ohio Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (R-Shawnee Twp.).

The session began at 11:15 a.m. on December 17 and ran past 1:30 a.m., around the time Representative Keller moved to suspend Ohio House of Representatives Rule 66 – which requires a bill to be placed on the House Calendar at least 24-hours in advance of consideration, unless voted upon by a majority of the House otherwise.

Keller sought suspension of Rule 66 so that House Bill 178 (HB178) and House Bill 381 (HB381) could “be taken up for immediate consideration for the third time.”

The exchange that ensued between Keller and Cupp was odd as the Speaker ignored the request initially and upon objection said that he hadn’t decided, then immediately acknowledged another representative who moved to adjourn.

The exchange can be seen below, as posted to Keller’s Facebook page.


Earlier in the session a Representative Jim Butler (R-Dayton) moved to suspend a House Rule, subsequently requesting an informal vote on Senate legislation – the Speaker acknowledged and allowed the request.

Representative Candice Keller is a Primary Sponsor of HB381 along with Ron Hood (R-Ashville).  The proposed legislation is also known as the stand-your-ground gun bill.

The essence of HB381 relieves Ohioans “not engaged in illegal activity” of the duty to “retreat from any place the person is lawfully present before using or threatening to use reasonable force including deadly force, in the same circumstances in which a use or threatened use of force, including deadly force, is authorized under Section 2901.09 of the Revised Code”– a code indicating that no person has a duty to retreat in a residence or vehicle.

According to the House Journal, earlier in the session on December 17 (that ran late into the morning hours of December 18), Senate Bill 175 (SB175) passed 52-31 – winning approval in the Senate by a vote of 18-11 on Friday, December 18.

The Senate gun bill is the stand-your-ground bill the General Assembly rallied behind – legislation sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer.  You can view the 17-page document by clicking here and then selecting ‘As Enrolled’ under the legislation text heading. The Act to amend the Ohio Revised Code would:

grant civil immunity to nonprofit corporations for certain injuries, deaths, or losses resulting from the carrying of handguns and to expand the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law.

Churches and nonprofit organizations are immune from liability under the bill, and a person’s right to stand her ground expands from a residence or vehicle to anywhere she finds herself legally.

Primary Sponsors for HB178, also known as the Constitutional carry bill, are Representative Ron Hood and Representative Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati).

The draft legislation was referred to the House Federalism Committee in April 2019 where it received proponent and opponent testimony over eight hearings.  The bill was re-referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee in 2020, where it had its last hearing in June.

The essence the proposed law, as spelled out in the bill:

The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of deadly weapons, including firearms, and their components, accessories, attachments, and their ammunition.

HB178 is a bill,

to modify the Weapons Law by renaming a concealed handgun license as a concealed weapons license, allowing a concealed weapons licensee to carry concealed all deadly weapons not otherwise prohibited by law without carrying a concealed weapons license, expanding state preemption of firearms regulation to include all deadly weapons, repealing a notice requirement applicable to licensees stopped for a law enforcement purpose, authorizing expungement of convictions of a violation of that requirement, and allowing a person age 21 or older and not prohibited by law from firearm possession to carry a concealed deadly weapon without needing a license subject to the same carrying laws as a licensee, and to amend the version of section 9.68 of the Revised Code.

The 145 page bill can be viewed by clicking here and then selecting ‘As Re-Referred to House Committee,’ which will download the latest version in .pdf format.

The Ohio Star reached out to Speaker Bob Cupp’s office and asked why the speaker chose to ignore Representative Keller’s request on December 18 and whether the Speaker expected to consider HB381 (even though SB175 already passed) and HB178  during a later session.  Representative Keller called HB381 a better bill.

Cupp’s office did not responded to the inquiry by press time.  The House Journal shows that the bills were not discussed during the final sessions of 2020.

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Jack Windsor is Managing Editor and an Investigative Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an Investigative Reporter at WMFD-TV. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].



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