Ohio Republican gun law proposal is unconstitutional, performative, and needlessly dangerous
Ohio leaders have bent over backward to give powerful gun lobbyists everything they wanted and more. The National Rifle Association owns our Statehouse lock, stock, and barrel. Republican lawmakers can’t introduce and pass enough pro-gun, industry-written legislation to legalize unlimited gun access in Ohio and allow unrestricted freedom to strap on a Glock anytime, anywhere without permit, training, or boundaries.
The gerrymandered GOP juggernaut in Ohio’s legislature and the Republican rubber stamp in the governor’s office, have made it legal to shoot first and ask questions later, pack heat as a classroom teacher with minimal firearm instruction, not inform police you are carrying a lethal weapon and bring an assault rifle to a riot.
State legislators are so eager to preserve and protect the rights of firearms — as opposed to the lives of Ohioans — that they’re promoting legislation this session (Ohio Senate Bill 293) to preemptively prohibit any commonsense gun regulations in the future that might to “do something!” to stop the ongoing epidemic of gun violence, murders, mass shootings, and suicides. God forbid we make gun owners, like car owners, carry proof of liability insurance to compensate victims of inherently dangerous weapons in wide circulation.
But Ohio Republicans pocket generous campaign checks from the gun lobby for fulfilling its wish list of more guns in more places with zero barriers or gun safety restrictions. So when a new measure was introduced recently in the Ohio House dubbed the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” it seemed at odds with the GOP’s long legislative devotion to gun rights preservation at any cost.
But a closer look at Ohio House Bill 51 revealed its title was a misnomer. The legislation, introduced by Warren Republican Mike Loychik, has nothing to do with the “preservation” of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It’s just a partisan copycat bill being shuttled around GOP-controlled statehouses as an impulsive publicity stunt to generate attention and put libs in their place.
Kneejerk MAGA reactionaries, like Loychik, are posturing (not to serve the public) but to “stand up to the federal government” by banning local and state police from enforcing federal gun laws that keep citizens safe. He and other petulant children occupying statehouses around the country are serving notice to the Biden Administration and Democrats running federal law enforcement agencies that “You’re not the boss of me!”
Never mind that prohibiting (and penalizing) local police from enforcing federal guns laws — intended to govern all 330 million of us — deprives entire populations of protection by undermining federal investigations. That should make every Ohioan, for whom public safety is paramount, livid. We are living in the Age of Insanity and paying dearly.
Ohio is poised to follow other red states selectively shrugging off federal laws and oversight as liberal “overreach” that Republican-ruled states are entitled to ignore. Obviously, the MAGA doofuses making it more difficult for law enforcement to do its job and prevent gun violence in our communities skipped Civics 101.
The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause ensures that federal law trumps state law. (A federal judge has already rejected the stunt pulled by Missouri Republicans, and widely panned by police, as unconstitutional.) But identical laws and bills in at least a dozen red states declaring federal gun laws (that Republicans don’t like) suddenly invalid were not crafted to pass constitutional muster.
When U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes struck down Missouri’s statute as a violation of federal law, he noted it was “designed to be just that.” The GOP measures are proposed and enacted solely to stick it to a Democratic president and stop local law enforcement officers from doing the federal government’s “dirty work” under (liberal leadership.) That’s what this reckless nonsense is about.
Loychik, and his co-sponsor Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, aren’t interested in reaching bipartisan consensus on rational firearm policy to better protect Ohioans and the law enforcement officers who serve them. They’re culture war wingnuts scoring MAGA points on manufactured grievances that are meaningless to most citizens but elevate the two as standout extremists.
While their latest attention-seeking bill — to nullify federal gun laws as subjective “infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms” — may be legally meaningless, it is not harmless to constituents and cops. Think about it. Stopping local police from assisting or cooperating with federal authorities (on penalty of $50,000 fines) “exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the federal government’s ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens within the limits of the Constitution.”
That was Judge Wimes’ unequivocal denunciation of the Missouri measure Loychik copied in Ohio House Bill 51. So why is the obscure lawmaker from Trumbull County pushing a duplicate of a statute found “unconstitutional in its entirety”? Good question. Like other MAGA grandstanders he’s bent on thwarting President Bident’s gun control proposals at the public’s expense.
“Ohio will not help the federal government agencies enforce their gun-control agenda by commandeering our local enforcement,” said the 33-year-old who really needs to get out of the Fox “fraud news” bubble before he starts wearing a tin foil hat in the Ohio House. His senseless House Bill 51 belongs in the dustbin of history for uniquely awful and dangerous legislation.
Marilou Johanek is a veteran Ohio print and broadcast journalist who has covered state and national politics as a longtime newspaper editorial writer and columnist.
This commentary was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.
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