SB 202 seeks to abolish statewide preemption of local gun control laws

Senators Cecil Thomas (D) and Hercial Craig (D) have introduced Senate Bill 202, titled “Local Authority – To restore local authority to generally regulate firearms related conduct.” It's a nice-sounding name, but it should scare the heck out of every gun owner.

The bill is very simple. It would repeal ORC Sec. 9.68.

What is the language in 9.68 that is so offensive it must be stricken from code? Let’s take a look.

The first sentence reads:

Sec. 9.68. (A) The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, other transfer, manufacture, taxation, keeping, and reporting of loss or theft of firearms, their components, and their ammunition.

Oh the humanity!!!

The next sentence is just as horrible: (to them)

The general assembly also finds and declares that it is proper for law-abiding people to protect themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers without fear of prosecution or civil action for acting in defense of themselves or others.

And there is the crux of the problem for the liberal left. You protecting your life, or the life of your family or innocent children. In their minds, you have no rights, except that which they decide you can have. Not even the right to defend your own life, or that of your children.

They alone will decide who is worth protecting (political leaders) and who should die (you).

Yes, it is that simple, that sinister, and that dangerous.

Imagine if every city could pass their own laws relating to firearms. Some might ban guns that are too small (too easy to hide!) and others that are too big (and scary!). Some might ban guns that are too accurate (sniper rifles!) while others might ban guns that are not accurate enough (and spray bullets everywhere!). Some would ban concealed carry in their streets/sidewalks, making your license worthless.

This may sounds ridiculous, but this insanity was reality in Ohio until we passed preemption. Dealing with criminals is hard, dangerous and expensive. But fining people like you is easy, safe and lucrative. Big government is big business.

So after years of state law working well, what is the need to change this law now? Easy: Money and power.

Last year the law was amended to make cities that violate the law pay up.

(B) A person, group, or entity adversely affected by any manner of ordinance, rule, regulation, resolution, practice, or other action enacted or enforced by a political subdivision in conflict with division (A) of this section may bring a civil action against the political subdivision seeking damages from the political subdivision, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or a combination of those remedies. Any damages awarded shall be awarded against, and paid by, the political subdivision. In addition to any actual damages awarded against the political subdivision and other relief provided with respect to such an action, the court shall award reasonable expenses to any person, group, or entity that brings the action, to be paid by the political subdivision, if either of the following applies:

(1) The person, group, or entity prevails in a challenge to the ordinance, rule, regulation, resolution, practice, or action as being in conflict with division (A) of this section.

(2) The ordinance, rule, regulation, resolution, practice, or action or the manner of its enforcement is repealed or rescinded after the civil action was filed but prior to a final court determination of the action.

We asked the General Assembly to add this section because of local government thwarting the law, knowing there were no consequences for them harassing law-abiding citizens.

Buckeye Firearms Foundation is involved in lawsuits with Columbus and Cincinnati over this section. We are clearly on the right side of the law, and prevailing. The cities are spending large sums of money trying to bleed us dry as they challenge the law all the way to the Supreme Court. They are beginning to understand that we have the ability to see this fight through, and they expect to lose. It bothers them greatly that they would have to reimburse us for all our expenses, including attorney fees.

We expect to defeat this horrific bill - this time.

But we all need to remember that elections matter. One bad election cycle and 20 years of progress could be undone with a couple votes and a pen.

Our success at the ballot box and resulting progress in the legislature has many gun owners feeling comfortable. Complacency is dangerous in a gunfight or a political fight.

We need to make ready now for the battles that lie ahead. Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter, and please consider becoming a member of BFA. We need help recruiting new members. Help us to educate every gun owner of the dangers we are facing.

Jim Irvine is Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award, CCRKBA's 2012 Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award and the Second Amendment Foundation's 2019 Distinguished Service Award.

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