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Government/Politics

Bill Would Name Ohio A "Safe Haven" From Federal Gun Regulations

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Dan Konik
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Fourteen Ohio House Republicans have signed onto a bill that could allow the state to reject federal gun laws and rulings that state lawmakers feel violate the Second Amendment.

House Bill 62 is labeled “Designate Ohio a Second Amendment Sanctuary State”.

Freshman Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) sponsored it, along with Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland). Loychik calls is a "safe haven" act, and said it doesn’t block federal guns laws and rulings, but puts up roadblocks to enforcement.

“If the federal government wanted to come in and try to mandate those things, it would essentially have to go through the supremacy clause, and then it would be taken to the Supreme Court. So it’s more of a barrier," Loychik said.

An analysis by the legislature’s researchers agrees that provisions of the bill that nullify federal acts and orders or prohibit their enforcement could be challenged in court.

It also notes two people charged in Kansas with selling unregistered firearms claimed they were protected under a similar law there. A federal court disagreed but didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the law.

Republicans in the Ohio House have also removed Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget provisions to expand background checks for gun sales and to increase penalties for gun crimes.

Democrats have wanted more stringent gun laws since DeWine first proposed that after the Dayton mass shootings in 2019. But they've criticized that move to strip the gun law changes from the budget, saying it's clear there's no plan to address those ideas in a stand-alone bill.

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