Local lawmaker wants to make Ohio a ‘Second Amendment sanctuary state,’ but what does that mean?

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A YSU professor said the legislation is largely symbolic as Congress can't pass a law that violates the Bill of Rights

(WKBN) – Local State Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) is introducing a bill to make Ohio a “Second Amendment sanctuary state,” but what does that entail?

Youngstown State University professor of political science Dr. Paul Sracic described the move as “symbolic.”

“It’s sort of making a statement, I think,” Dr. Sracic said. “It’s making a statement that people think that…if the state legislature were to pass this, they would be making a statement that they think the federal government is passing laws that violate the Second Amendment. That’s what the statement is.”

The goal of the act would be to prevent the federal government from overreaching the state government if federal officials decided they want to take away Second Amendment rights.

“As I understand it, they’re relying on the 10th Amendment, which is about powers reserved to the states, and basically, what it says is if a power hasn’t been given to the national government, it is reserved to the states,” Sracic said.

The question comes down to, “What can the federal government do? What’re they allowed to do? What is Congress allowed to do under the enumerated powers Article 1, Section 8?” Sracic said.

“And, of course, the one thing that Congress can’t do is pass a law that violates the Bill of Rights that would violate the Second Amendment,” Sracic said.

Loychik didn’t respond to a reporter’s request for an interview about the legislation, but he did release a statement on the proposal earlier this week.

According to the release, the legislation considers various acts, if taken by the federal government, as infringements on Ohioans’ Second Amendment rights:

  • Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services and that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
  • Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
  • Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
  • Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and
  • Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.

Sracic said if the federal government was to pass a law that could be seen as violating the Second Amendment, a state or any other entity would have to go to court to challenge it.

“Now if the state decided, ‘Hey, we’re not going to enforce this federal law because it violates the Second Amendment,’ again, you’re going to be back in court,” he said. “Ultimately, the question is whether or not the federal government is allowed to pass this law.”

Sracic said if the federal law would be found valid, then the states would essentially have to comply with it, regardless of whether they’re considered a “sanctuary state.”

“Ultimately, the question is about federal power, because the states have reserve power, but it has to be something that wasn’t given to the federal government,” he said. “To understand the 10th Amendment, know what powers are reserved, you have to understand what powers have been granted to Congress… It’s like a balance on two sides — the powers granted to Congress versus those reserved to the states.”

According to the release from Loychik, four states are considered Second Amendment sactuary states with hundreds of other counties across the nation enacting certain laws with similar protections.

“Especially with the current climate and rhetoric at the federal level, the preservation of our Second Amendment is now more crucial than ever before, and it is my intent to protect this right for the people of Trumbull County and throughout the state of Ohio,” Loychik said in the release.

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