COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Opponents worry a proposed firearms law would loosen restrictions; proponents said it protects the Second Amendment.
It is called the Second Amendment Preservation Act, or House Bill 51, and was originally scheduled for a vote out of the House Government Oversight Committee Tuesday afternoon. However, the chairperson of the committee, Rep. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) decided not to take it to vote, saying the bill was not ready for it.
But still, committee members heard about two hours of testimony from people for and against the legislation.
“I would ask that this bill goes nowhere from here,” opponent Andrea Yagoda said. “But if it’s going to go to a vote that you vote ‘no.’”
“This will protect Second Amendment rights for Ohio citizens and give law enforcement the tools necessary to put bad guys away,” proponent Jered Taylor said.
Opponents, like Yagoda, said the bill is not in the best interest of Ohioans.
“How does this bill address what Ohioans really care about: curbing gun violence?” she said.
“I think everybody in the room, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, support the Second Amendment,” Peterson said. “It’s just how we define that and that’s what our job as legislators is.”
One point of contention in the bill is pistol braces, which help stabilize a handgun. Braced pistols have been redefined by the ATF and will soon be subject to more regulations. This bill would eliminate that possibility in Ohio.
“Without this change to state law, you will be giving Ohio law enforcement the green light to enforce this federal tyranny,” Taylor said.
But Yagoda said that worries her, as braced pistols have been used in mass shootings like in 2021 in Colorado and here in Ohio.
“2019 in Dayton, Ohio, nine people killed,” Yagoda said. “When the citizens of Dayton cried, ‘Do something,’ this is not what they intended.”
The bill would also prohibit law enforcement from having the authority to enforce federal weapons laws and would penalize agencies that do.
And, though the current wording is unclear, would make it so state agencies cannot hire anyone who served as a federal agent in Ohio. That was a widely talked about portion of the bill during Tuesday’s hearing.
“It’s an outright bar, as I understand it,” Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said. “Don’t you think that goes way too far?”
“No, I don’t think it goes too far,” Taylor said. “If we believe that it’s unconstitutional that the feds are passing gun control that we in the state of Ohio don’t believe they should, why would want to hire those same individuals?”
“I think, in general, we all want to make sure people that are good for jobs get hired, whether they have federal pedigrees or whether they are local or state,” Peterson said.
A nearly identical bill was ruled unconstitutional in Missouri. But both Peterson and Speaker of the House Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said they are taking time on the legislation to make sure they get it right.