Ohio Senate Passes Emergency Powers Bill SB 185

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 185, sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer, on a 23 to 7 vote.

Along with its companion, House Bill 325, sponsored by Representative Scott Wiggam, Senate Bill 185 seeks to prevent state and local governments from infringing on Second Amendment rights and key hunting, fishing, and trapping activities during declared emergencies. It is the most powerful and comprehensive emergency powers bill of its kind in the United States.

BFA pioneered this bill and worked with our partners, the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation, to write this bill and line up overwhelming support in the House and Senate, with over 60 sponsors and co-sponsors.

Now that this bill is through the Senate, we urge the House Government Oversight Committee to continue with hearings on the companion bill and send it to the House floor for a vote, so we can get this legislation on the Governor's desk before the end of the year.

Here are some of the key provisions of SB 185:

Declares that certain deadly weapons or firearms businesses and services are life sustaining “essential” businesses and services for the purposes of safety and security during an emergency.

Provides that no state agency, political subdivision, elected or appointed official or employee of this state or any political subdivision, or agent of this state or of any political subdivision, board, commission, bureau, or other public body established under law may do any of the following during an emergency:

  • Prohibit, regulate, or curtail the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, display, sale, transportation, transfer, defensive use, or other lawful use of any firearm, ammunition, ammunition-reloading equipment, or deadly weapon;
  • Require the registration of any firearm, ammunition, or deadly weapon;
  • Seize, commandeer, or confiscate in any manner, any firearm, ammunition, ammunition-reloading equipment, or deadly weapon that is possessed, carried, displayed, sold, transferred, transported, stored, or used in connection with otherwise lawful conduct;
  • Suspend or revoke a valid concealed handgun license, except as expressly authorized by law;
  • Refuse to accept or process an application for a concealed handgun license or for renewal of a concealed handgun license, provided the application for the license or for the renewal has been properly completed and submitted;
  • Prohibit, suspend, or limit the business operations of any entity engaged in the lawful selling or servicing of any firearm, ammunition, ammunition-reloading equipment, or deadly weapon;
  • Prohibit, suspend, or limit the business operations of any indoor or outdoor shooting range or any entity engaged in providing deadly weapon or firearms training;
  • Place restrictions or quantity limitations on any entity regarding the lawful sale or servicing of any firearm, ammunition, ammunition-reloading equipment, or deadly weapon;
  • Suspend, restrict, or prohibit otherwise lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping activities or business entities conducting or directly facilitating lawful hunting, trapping, or fishing activities.

Provides that if a concealed handgun license is scheduled to expire during an emergency or 30 days prior to an emergency, the license is automatically extended throughout the duration of the emergency plus an additional 90 days.

Specifies that any person, group, or entity adversely affected by any manner of law enacted or enforced in violation of the bill may file an action for damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, or other appropriate redress.

Click here to read BFA's testimony on this bill in June of this year.

We have dedicated several Keep and Bear Radio podcasts to this landmark legislation, explaining why it's necessary and how it works to protect Constitutional rights.

Click to listen:

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