COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Republicans announced a new piece of firearm legislation Tuesday, but after three mass shootings in a matter of days in Ohio, some say it’s not the kind of change needed when it comes to guns in the state.
State Representative Scott Wiggam, (R-Wayne County) and State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) announced their new bills at a news conference Tuesday. The bills would declare firearm possession, transportation, carrying and training a “life-sustaining essential activity.” This would bar local or state government authorities from “infringing” on these rights if a state of emergency is declared.
“Ohioans need to know that their rights are protected under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution, especially in the worst of times,” Schaffer said.
Lawmakers used Michigan as an example of this happening because gun ranges and stores were not deemed essential during the pandemic. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine did not close these facilities.
“We should not wait for a time when anti-gun politicians control this state to ask for protection for our Second Amendment rights,” said Rob Sexton with the Buckeye Firearms Association.
After three mass shootings in Ohio in just a single week, some said now is not the time for this bill. Representative Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) said lawmakers should instead be working on fixing the issue of gun violence.
“We’ve lost a number of Ohioans to gun violence and I just don’t see how this legislation is going to prevent another person from dying,” she said.
When asked about the mass shootings and timing of this legislation, Schaffer said the two are unrelated.
“We are reaffirming and protecting the Ohio Constitution and the U.S. Constitution and there’s never a bad time for that,” he said. “These shootings, the things that are going on, they’re tragic. We pray that they would stop.”
Boggs said the legislation shows where lawmakers priorities are when it comes to firearms.
“We see that the priority is about protecting access, which I understand is a legitimate constitutional right, but we’re doing nothing in terms of the public health and the people of this state,” she said.