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Ohio governor signs law slightly weakening gun controls

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK world petrochemical conference in Houston March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson
Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the CERAWEEK world petrochemical conference in Houston March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Donna W. Carson

By Jo Ingles

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Ohio's Republican Governor Johns Kasich on Thursday signed into law a measure that would slightly weaken the state's law on carrying concealed weapons, less than a week after a Connecticut school massacre focused national attention on gun control.

The bill would require Ohio residents demonstrate competency with the weapon only once rather than each time the concealed carry permit expires. It also would allow carrying concealed weapons in the parking garage of the State Capitol.

Kasich signed the bill along with 41 others and did not hold a signing ceremony. A press release summarizing his actions put the gun law near the bottom of list of those signed.

Kasich foreshadowed the action earlier in the week, telling reporters he would sign it: "Whatever we do, we don't want to erode the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens."

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives American citizens the right to bear arms.

Democratic state Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard said Kasich should not have signed such a "divisive" bill less than a week after a national tragedy.

"Rather than rushing to sign legislation that weakens our gun laws, we must use this time for a full, inclusive reflection," Maxwell Heard said.

Last Friday, a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults before shooting himself.

Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday vetoed a proposed law that would have allowed some gun owners to bring concealed weapons into public places such as schools. Snyder said that the Connecticut shooting had influenced his decision.

(Editing by Greg McCune, desking by G Crosse)

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