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Substitute Second Amendment 'sanctuary' bill introduced in Ohio with pared-back provisions

guns in a case at Columbus gun store
Dan Konik

The latest version of a Second Amendment sanctuary state bill, first brought forward in February, loosens some of the proposed restrictions on what federal gun regulations Ohio police officers could use or enforce if it passes.

House Bill 51, introduced by Reps. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) and Jean Schmidt (R- Loveland), is a Republican-backed measure that would shield Ohioans from federal gun control policies by encouraging local law enforcement to not enforce any the state sees in violation of the Second Amendment.

The original version of H.B. 51 included a lengthy list of what Republican sponsors believed were policies infringing on rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. But a substitute version introduced in the house government oversight committee Tuesday removed many of those particulars, according to a summary of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission.

The substituted legislation also clarifies circumstances under which police would be able to use federal gun statutes, said Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron). Those include instances such as using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, working on an interagency task force or when pursuing someone who is considered violent and armed, Swearingen said.

“We want to encourage Second Amendment rights, prohibit federal gun control in the state of Ohio,” he said. “However, we want to allow our law enforcement officers to work in conjunction with the federal government officials in fighting crime.”

House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) told reporters he saw the bill as “detailed and nuanced,” including with the number of revisions it has undergone.

“The purpose of that bill is to make sure that Ohioans are under Ohio’s gun laws,” Stephens said. “If there are federal gun laws that change, the federal government will be one who is required to enforce that, not local agency.”

Since February, the legislation has also garnered a long list of opponents, ranging from county prosecutors to the Ohio Mayors Alliance to advocacy organizations including Moms Demand Action. Opponents who have testified have said that if the bill passes, they’re concerned about threats to public safety.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
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