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Ohio representatives considering bill that would circumvent federal gun laws

gun control
Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 18:07:44-04

Ohio lawmakers have been considering a bill that would override federal laws around gun safety, even before President Joe Biden renewed his call for Congress to strengthen gun regulations following two deadly mass shootings last week.

House Bill 62, if passed, would allow Ohio lawmakers to override any federal laws enacted to forbid gun ownership, tax guns and ammo, or track guns and owners.

Representative Mike Loychik from Bazetta Township in Trumbull County announced the bill in February.

"We must ensure the lawful freedoms of our second amendment are not infringed upon," he wrote, in part.

The first hearing in the State and Local Government Committee was on April 14 and no decision was officially made on House Bill 62. The very next day, a gunman claimed the lives of nine people and injured seven more at an Indianapolis FedEx facility in one of the deadliest mass shootings this year.

For gun safety advocates, the bill's language allowing the state to simply sidestep federal legislation is not the right answer.

"If you don't like what exists, then you take it to court and you go ahead and challenge a law that is there, but you don't come right out and say, 'No, we're not going to abide by any of them,'" said Toby Hoover, with the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, a group standing against House Bill 62.

Those against legislation that would limit gun ownership freedoms are watching the bill carefully, in the hopes that it could be a way to push back against what they see as federal impositions on their freedoms.

"There's an awful lot of gun control legislation being introduced and I think gun owners are feeling overwhelmed and are trying to find a way to push back against all of this," said Dean Rieck, with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Four states in the U.S. are considered second amendment sanctuary states: Alaska, Kansas, Wyoming and Idaho. Fourteen Ohio lawmakers -- none from the Greater Cincinnati region -- have co-sponsored House Bill 62, which would add Ohio to that list.