Two Ohio state legislators have introduced a bill that would prevent state and local governments from attempting to seize guns or close gun stores or ranges during declared emergencies.
When introducing the proposal, State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) and State Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wayne County) pointed to shutdowns of gun stores in Michigan throughout the coronavirus pandemic as the source of inspiration for the bill.
Additionally, the sponsors of the bill argue that the role of government expanded greatly over the course of the pandemic through state Health Department-authorized COVID lockdowns and restrictions.
“The last year revealed the startling scope of government power during a declared emergency. It is critical that both local and state authorities understand that this power cannot be used to infringe on people’s constitutional right to protect themselves and their families,” Schaffer said in a statement.
The legislation has earned support from Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA), National Rifle Association (NRA) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
“Although Governor DeWine’s COVID related restrictions did not restrict the rights of gun owners, we have seen other states abuse their power, going as far as shutting down firearms commerce, including our neighboring Michigan,” BFA Executive Director Dean Rieck added to the statement.
“In addition to the COVID crisis, our nation experienced a wave of violence that understandably prompted a sharp increase in firearm purchases and demand for training and concealed firearms licenses,” explained the NRA’s John Weber.
Last year, a similar bill was introduced by Republicans, but the Ohio State Legislature did not take up the measure before the legislative session ended.
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