AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Although we don’t know for sure when or if it will come up for a vote in Columbus, supporters of a measure to keep the federal government from imposing new gun control on Ohio believe the numbers are on their side.
House Bill 62 would make Ohio a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, meaning Ohio would have the power to nullify any federal law or court ruling that goes against the second amendment. This includes:
- Tax on guns or ammunition
- Registering or tracking guns and their owners
- Any act forbidding gun ownership or transfer
- Any act ordering the confiscation of guns
Tom Rinehart, manager of Precision Shooting in Austintown, said these days he has trouble keeping his shelves fully stocked at the small gun dealership. It is little wonder that he supports the idea of making Ohio a sanctuary state to protect the Second Amendment.
“I hope it passes. I think we are seeing a polar swing from four years ago,” he said.
H.B. 62 was introduced earlier this year by lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Loychik, R-63rd District, of Trumbull County.
“We are granted our Second Amendment rights through the constitution, and there is no reason why the federal government needs to regulate that anymore,” Rinehart said.
Although Loychik hasn’t returned our calls to talk about the measure, fellow Republican Al Cutrona of Canfield thinks passage is simply a matter of numbers.
With the support of having 64 representatives on the Republican side of the caucus, at the House, I think there is an immense amount of support. I think a lot of people are looking to protect our Second Amendment rights,” Cutrona said.
Democrat Michelle Hagan of Youngstown said her caucus has a half dozen gun control bills that are to be introduced soon, despite the fact that her party is dwarfed in the General Assembly by the Republican’s supermajority. She says real change will need to come from Washington.
“This should be a national decision. When gun violence is sweeping across the nation, sensible gun measures really should be put into place, nationally,” she said.
Gun violence has spiked across the U.S. during the pandemic. The FBI says 2020 saw an increase in murders by more than 20% — that’s a record.
The Valley hasn’t escaped this national trend of increased gun violence. Just in Youngstown, the number of shooting deaths is up — something that prompted a “stop the violence” forum this past weekend.
President Biden has called America’s problem with gun violence an “epidemic” and “international embarrassment.” He’s proposed six possible executive order law changes, including banning ghost guns — guns without serial numbers.
Many people across the country support these measures, including the Moms Demand Action Ohio chapter. In a statement, they said:
With our state in the grips of a gun violence epidemic that kills over 1,500 Ohioans a year, we instead ask our lawmakers to listen to the voices of the majority of people in Ohio who support common sense public safety measures.”
Rob Sexton, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the bill is a step to prevent a federal threat to gun ownership.
“Ohio is not going to participate in going down the road of taking away the gun rights of law-abiding people. I think they’re searching for solutions for how to best protect our rights as guaranteed by the constitution and this is their first attempt to provide that protection.”
Legal professionals question if the bill will stand up in court.
“Right now, my first guess would be that if it got to the Supreme Court, assuming it passed, my guess is the federal government, the Supreme Court, would rule in favor of the federal government,” said Marc Clauson, a history and law professor at Cedarville University.