Ohio Bill Seeks to Block Enforcement of Any New Federal Gun Control

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OH-TAC_iconCOLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeye State recently joined the growing list of states to introduce legislation intended to draw a line in the sand regarding unconstitutional federal gun control.

Ohio Representatives Wes Retherford and Ron Hood introduced House Bill 35 (HB35) on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.  The bill, which would prohibit the seizure, registration and/or ban of firearms has 9 Cosponsors and has been referred to the House State Government Committee.

If passed, HB35 would “prohibit any agency and its employees and agents from seizing or authorizing the seizure of any firearm from any person lawfully in possession or control of the firearm except when a law enforcement officer reasonably believes the immediate seizure of the firearm is necessary for the safety of the officer or another person or to preserve the firearm as evidence, to prohibit the establishment of a firearm registry, and to prohibit law enforcement officers and international agents from enforcing a firearms registration requirement or firearm ban.”

HB35 was initially referred to the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, but has since been reassigned to the State Government Committee which is chaired by a strong 2A supporter and HB35 cosponsor Rep. Ron Maag. Sponsor Rep. Ron Hood and another cosponsor Rep. John Becker also sit on this committee.

This same exact bill was introduced in March of 2013 (HB99), but died a slow death in the State and Local Government Committee despite support from the Tenth Amendment CenterGun Owners of AmericaNational Association for Gun Rights and Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohio’s preeminent pro-gun lobby. With Rep. Maag at the helm of the State Government Committee this session, HB35 has a much better chance of passing out of committee.

LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.

The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:

The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. 

As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now 20 years old and considered well settled.”

MOMENTUM

Introduction comes at a time when more than a dozen other states are considering similar bills, building momentum and support for the effort to block federal gun control at the state level. Similar bills have already been filed for 2015 in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and several more states are expected to do the same. Since 2013, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas have already passed into law legislation that pushes back at federal gun control measures with this same strategy.

ACTION

  1. Contact the members of the Ohio House State Government Committee and respectfully encourage them to pass this bill out of committe.
  2. Contact YOUR state rep and encourage her/him to support or even cosponsor HB35.
  3. Contact YOUR state senator and encourage her/him to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

Contact info here:  http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator

Scott Landreth is the Ohio Chapter Coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank that serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. Send him e-mail to scott.landreth@tenthamendmentcenter.com.

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