COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A controversial bill to expand gun rights had its third hearing at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday.
About 80 people submitted opponent testimony, compared to just over 20 who testified in favor of House Bill 51, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, last week; opponents said that alone should be a signal of what Ohioans want.
“I have no problem with people owning guns, but this is just an outrageous bill,” opponent to the bill Mary Miller said.
“We’re taking input from Ohioans and trying to figure out what’s better for Ohioans,” chair of Government Oversight committee Representative Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) said.
Sponsors of the bill said the proposed legislation does not allow for a lawless society and it simply puts power back to the state, but opponents argue the bill would make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs and some worry it would allow domestic abusers to carry a gun without a permit.
“We have very passionate testimony where people have dealt with significant losses,” Peterson said.
The bill would also prohibit a law enforcement officer from having the authority to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
“We already have trouble getting people onto our police force and it’s just impeding that further,” Miller said.
The bill is nearly identical to a Missouri bill that was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. A provision in both bills would fine law enforcement agencies $50,000 for each officer who knowingly enforces federal gun laws that do not align with the state’s laws.
“It ties the hands of local and state law enforcement from working with their federal colleagues,” Miller said. “It will slow investigations down.”
“We’re trying to find something that moves Ohio forward and is helpful in preventing crime and making sure our law enforcement has the tools they need in preventing gun violence and problems across the state,” Peterson said.