Ohio lawmakers keen on protecting Second Amendment rights are considering a bill to thwart enforcement of federal statutes more restrictive than the state’s.
House Bill 51 would prevent law enforcement officers and prosecutors from upholding or attempting to enforce several measures from Washington. The legislation targets federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, or regulations that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
As Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt of Loveland said, the bill is directly aimed at preserving Ohioans’ constitutional rights.
The ATF's pistol brace rule means law-abiding Americans are going to become felons because unelected executive branch bureaucrats are making "law" for a president who hates guns. We need to restore lawmaking authority to the legislative branch as our Founders intended. pic.twitter.com/phMj6ruVD9
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 13, 2023
She gave the specific example of the recent move by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) concerning pistol braces. “The ATF’s recent attempt to classify legal handguns as illegal short-barrel rifles was a clear overreach of the federal government.”
Enforcement of that regulation would come to a screeching halt.
The measure also blocks local governments from hiring a person who is or was employed or deputized by the U.S. government and is attempting to enforce federal infringements on the Second Amendment.
GOP Rep. Mike Loychik of Cortland, a sponsor of HB 51, explained that the proposal is backed by the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Unless specifically granted to the federal government, all power belongs to the states.
As he asserted, “Ohio law enforcement agencies cannot be compelled to enforce unconstitutional federal gun control laws, executive orders, or agency rule interpretations.”
Addressing lawmakers in committee, Loychik said the bill would separate federal and state-enforced firearms laws.
The representative acknowledged that the Supremacy Clause established that federal law normally trumps state law. But he argued that HB 51 does not challenge that standard.
Rather, “it simply states that the state of Ohio will not help the federal government agencies enforce their gun control agenda.”
Passage of this bill would undoubtedly lead to a constitutional showdown in federal court. But Ohio has the right idea in that constitutional protections may not be stripped away from law-abiding citizens, even through a federal overreach.
It is well within the power of state lawmakers to protect citizens’ rights, including those bestowed by the Second Amendment. And it is high time the administration and federal agencies end their attempts to work around not only the Constitution but clear Supreme Court rulings on gun control.