Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

126 th General Assembly of Ohio

Ohio Legislative Service Commission

77 South High Street, 9th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6136 ² Phone: (614) 466-3615

² Internet Web Site: http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/

BILL:

H.B. 347

DATE:

January 10, 2006

STATUS:

As Introduced

SPONSOR:

Rep. Aslanides

LOCAL IMPACT STATEMENT REQUIRED:

No —

Minimal cost

 


CONTENTS:

Revises the laws regarding licenses to carry a concealed handgun, and identifies, as a general law and matter of statewide concern, the right of any person, except as provided in the Revised Code, to own, possess, purchase, otherwise acquire, transport, carry, sell, or otherwise transfer a firearm, a component of a firearm, or ammunition for a firearm

 

State Fiscal Highlights

 

STATE FUND

FY 2006*

FY 2007

FUTURE YEARS

General Revenue Fund (GRF)

     Revenues

- 0 -

Potential negligible loss

Potential negligible loss

     Expenditures

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund (Fund 402)

     Revenues

- 0 -

Potential negligible loss

Potential negligible loss

     Expenditures

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

Note:  The state fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.  For example, FY 2006 is July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2006.

*This analysis assumes that any fiscal effects created for the state as a result of the bill will occur no earlier than FY 2007.

 

·        Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund (Fund 402).  In addition to any fines and local court costs imposed, those convicted of violating local firearms ordinances, which would be classified as misdemeanors, must pay locally collected state court costs.  State court costs for a misdemeanor conviction total $24 ($9 for the Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund and $15 goes to the GRF).  Given the relatively small number of firearms-related arrests, prosecutions, and convictions that would have occurred under existing local ordinances, but would most probably not occur as a result of the bill, the state’s GRF and Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund (Fund 402) are likely to lose no more than a negligible amount of revenues annually.


Local Fiscal Highlights

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2006

FY 2007

FUTURE YEARS

Counties – Sheriff’s Concealed Handgun License Issuance Expense Fund

     Revenues

Gain of up to $120,000 or more

Gain of up to $240,000 or more

Gain of up to $240,000 or more

     Expenditures

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

Counties & Municipalities

     Revenues

Potential loss of court costs, fines, and fees, likely to be minimal at most

Potential loss of court costs, fines, and fees, likely to be minimal at most

Potential loss of court costs, fines, and fees, likely to be minimal at be most

     Expenditures

Potential decrease in criminal justice system costs,

likely to be minimal at most

Potential decrease in criminal justice system costs,

likely to be minimal at most

Potential decrease in criminal justice system costs,

likely to be minimal at most

Note:  For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year.  The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

 

·        Concealed carry fee increase.  Legislative Service Commission fiscal staff estimates that the $10 fee increase per application would generate, statewide, up to $240,000 or more in local revenues to be deposited in the appropriate county treasury to the credit of the Sheriff’s Concealed Handgun License Issuance Expense Fund.  At this time LSC fiscal staff has not had the opportunity to determine how this additional revenue will be utilized.  Presumably, it will be used to continue the ongoing duties and responsibilities of the sheriff under the existing Concealed Carry Licensing Law, which, under the terms of the bill, will also include providing written notification to concealed carry license holders of the impending expiration of said license.

·        Notice of upcoming expiration of a license.  The bill requires a sheriff who issues a license or renews a license to carry a concealed handgun to notify the licensee, in writing, of the upcoming expiration of the license, not later than 60 days before the expiration date of the license.  The bill allows the sheriff, with the approval of the board of county commissioners, to use moneys deposited to the credit of the Sheriff’s Concealed Handgun License Issuance Expense Fund to pay the costs of mailing notices of the upcoming expiration date of a license to carry a concealed handgun.  As of this writing, LSC fiscal staff has not had an opportunity to: (1) determine the likely cost of this provision, nor (2) ascertain whether the $10 increase in the license fee will cover all, or some portion, of the notice of expiration requirement.  Since none of the concealed carry licenses issued by a sheriff under the existing Concealed Carry Licensing Law have yet reached their expiration date, any costs associated with performing this notice of expiration requirement would not begin until CY 2008.

·        Adjudication of cases.  In some local jurisdictions, as a result of the bill, it appears that a few individuals that might have been arrested, prosecuted in a county or municipal court, convicted, and sanctioned for violating local firearms ordinances, will likely not be so arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sanctioned.  The fiscal effect of such an outcome could be a decrease in municipal criminal justice expenditures and county adjudication costs, but any such decreases would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually.  In addition, it seems likely that some municipalities will lose fine and court cost revenues and some counties likely will lose some court cost revenues, but any such loses in local revenues would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually.

·        Regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern.  In some local jurisdictions, as a result of the bill, it appears that a few individuals that might have been arrested, prosecuted in a county or municipal court, convicted, and sanctioned for violating local firearms ordinances, will likely not be so arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sanctioned.  The fiscal effect of such an outcome could be a decrease in county and municipal criminal justice system expenditures, but any such decreases would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually.  In addition, it seems likely that some municipalities will lose fine and court cost revenues and some counties likely will lose some court cost revenues, but any such loses in local revenues would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually. 

·        Local firearms ordinances.  It appears that, in some local jurisdictions, for example, the city of Columbus, a permit to purchase a firearm within that jurisdiction is required and the application process imposes a $5 fee.  Presumably, these local permit revenues would be lost, under the terms of the bill, to certain local governments, including the city of Columbus, that assess such an application-processing fee under their local ordinances.  It appears unlikely that the amount of this application processing fee revenue lost annually would be very large.  It is also likely that this loss of revenues would be offset by the elimination of the administrative burdens associated with processing applications, issuing final permits, and, in the case of Columbus, paying for a criminal records check conducted by the city police department.


 


 

 

Detailed Fiscal Analysis

 

The bill identifies the right of any person, except as restricted by provisions in the Revised Code, to own, possess, purchase, otherwise acquire, transport, carry, sell, or otherwise transfer a firearm, a component of a firearm, or ammunition for a firearm, and makes a number of changes and adjustments to the laws governing licenses to carry a concealed handgun.  For the purposes of this analysis, LSC fiscal staff has, as of this writing, identified the following significant provisions:

·        Increases the fee charged to applicants for a concealed carry license or a renewal license from the current maximum allowable fee of $45 to $55.

·        Requires a sheriff who issues a license or renews a license to carry a concealed handgun to notify the licensee, in writing, of the impending expiration of the license.

·        Specifically provides that any person may own, possess, purchase, otherwise acquire, transport, carry, sell, or otherwise transfer a firearm, firearm component, or ammunition for a firearm.

·        Stipulates that the provision described in the immediately preceding dot point and certain other sections of the Revised Code dealing with firearms are general laws of Ohio and preempt and supersede any local laws dealing with those matters.

 

Concealed carry fee increase

 

State fiscal effects

 

            As of this writing, the provision of the bill that increases the fee for a concealed carry license or a renewal license does not appear to directly affect state revenues and expenditures.

 

Local fiscal effects

 

Under current law:

·        If an applicant for a concealed carry license or a renewal license has been a resident of Ohio for five or more years, the fee for the license is an amount that does not exceed the lesser of the actual cost of issuing the license, including, but not limited to, the cost of conducting the criminal records check, or $45.

·        If an applicant has been a resident of Ohio for less than five years, the fee for the license is an amount that must consist of the actual cost of having a criminal background check performed by the FBI, if performed, plus the lesser of the actual cost of issuing the license, including, but not limited to, the cost of conducting the criminal records check, or $45.

·        The fee for a temporary emergency license is an amount that does not exceed the actual cost of conducting the criminal background check, or $30.

 

The bill makes no change to the fee for a temporary emergency license, but for a regular license it does:  (1) eliminate the fee distinction based on the number of years a person has been a resident of Ohio, and (2) increases the fee for a license or renewal application made on or after the effective date of the bill to $55.

 

Based on data for the first three quarters of calendar year (CY) 2005 collected by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, and estimating for the final quarter based on the average of the previous three quarters, LSC fiscal staff estimate that approximately 24,000 licenses for concealed carry were issued in CY 2005.  Assuming a similar estimate for CYs 2006 and 2007, the $10 fee increase per application would generate, statewide, up to $240,000 or more in local revenues to be deposited in the appropriate county treasury to the credit of the Sheriff’s Concealed Handgun License Issuance Expense Fund.  At this time LSC fiscal staff has not had the opportunity to determine how this additional revenue will be utilized.  Presumably, it will be used to continue the ongoing duties and responsibilities of the sheriff under the existing Concealed Carry Licensing Law, which, under the terms of the bill, will also include providing written notification to concealed carry license holders of the impending expiration of said license.

 

Notice of upcoming expiration of a license

 

State fiscal effects

 

            As of this writing, the provision of the bill related to the expiration of a license and notice of the upcoming expiration does not appear to directly affect state revenues and expenditures.

 

Local fiscal effects

 

The bill requires a sheriff who issues a license or renews a license to carry a concealed handgun to notify the licensee, in writing, of the upcoming expiration of the license, not later than 60 days before the expiration date of the license.  The notice, which is confidential and not a public record, must contain certain information and be sent to the licensee by regular mail at the licensee's last known residence address.  The bill allows the sheriff, with the approval of the board of county commissioners, to use moneys deposited to the credit of the Sheriff’s Concealed Handgun License Issuance Expense Fund to pay the costs of mailing notices of the upcoming expiration date of a license to carry a concealed handgun.  As of this writing, LSC fiscal staff has not had an opportunity to: (1) determine the likely cost of this provision, nor (2) ascertain whether the $10 increase in the license fee will cover all, or some portion, of the notice of expiration requirement.  Since none of the concealed carry licenses issued by a sheriff under the existing Concealed Carry Licensing Law have yet reached their expiration date, any costs associated with performing this notice of expiration requirement would not begin until CY 2008.

 

Regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern

 

Local fiscal effects

 

The bill enacts new provisions preempting local firearms regulations if they are considered general laws.  This means that all local ordinances prohibiting certain actions with respect to firearms must fall into line with state law and that these local ordinances would have to be repealed and presumably rewritten to comport with state law.

 

According to the Ohio Municipal League, the cities of Toledo and Columbus have both enacted some of the most restrictive local ordinances banning the possession of certain types of firearms.  In both cities, a violation of their local firearms ordinances is a misdemeanor of the first degree.  Under state law, a violation of a misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by an individual fine of up to $1,000 and a possible jail stay of not more than six months.  Based on discussions with local prosecutors in Toledo and Columbus, it appears that very few criminal cases are handled annually under these local ordinances and the amount of the fine revenues collected in association with convictions is very small.

 

Thus, in some local jurisdictions, as a result of the bill, it appears that a few individuals that might have been arrested, prosecuted in a county or municipal court, convicted, and sanctioned for violating local firearms ordinances, will likely not be so arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sanctioned.  The fiscal effect of such an outcome could be a decrease in county and municipal criminal justice system expenditures, but any such decreases would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually.  In addition, it seems likely that some municipalities will lose fine and court cost revenues and some counties likely will lose some court cost revenues, but any such loses in local revenues would be unlikely to exceed minimal annually.

 

Additionally, it appears that in some local jurisdictions, for example, the city of Columbus, a permit to purchase a firearm within that jurisdiction is required and the application process imposes a $5 fee.  Presumably, these local permit revenues would be lost, under the terms of the bill, to certain local governments, including the city of Columbus, that assess such an application processing fee under their local ordinances.  It appears unlikely that the amount of this application processing fee revenue lost annually would be very large.  It is also likely that this loss of revenues would be offset by the elimination of the administrative burdens associated with processing applications, issuing final permits, and, in the case of Columbus, paying for a criminal records check conducted by the city police department.

 

State fiscal effects

 

            In addition to any fines and local court costs imposed, those convicted of violating local firearms ordinances, which would be classified as misdemeanors, must pay locally collected state court costs.  State court costs for a misdemeanor conviction total $24 ($9 for the Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund and $15 goes to the GRF).  Given the relatively small number of firearms-related arrests, prosecutions, and convictions that would have occurred under existing local ordinances, but would most probably not occur as a result of the bill, the state’s GRF and Victims of Crime/Reparations Fund (Fund 402) are likely to lose no more than a negligible amount of revenues annually.

 

 

LSC fiscal staff:  Joseph Rogers, Senior Budget Analyst

 

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