Republican lawmakers in Ohio have introduced a pack of pro-gun legislation that will expand gun rights in the Buckeye State.
HB 210 would make it illegal for law enforcement agencies to destroy legally confiscated firearms. They would instead have to sell them back to licensed firearm dealers. This would help bring in some revenue for local police forces, but police agencies historically have not been fond of extra guns on the street. The bill would likely provoke a mixed reaction from law enforcement officials.
HB 191 would remove a number of weapons from the state’s banned list. Currently, weapons that can fire 31 rounds without reloading are considered an “automatic firearm” in Ohio, but this bill aims to erase that definition. Doug Deeken of Ohioans for Concealed Carry praised the bill as “good house cleaning legislation,” arguing that “this keeps Ohio from calling something a machine gun that the federal government wouldn't even call a machine gun. It's an arbitrary limit that needs to go."
Toby Hoover of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence scoffed at the bill and said it is simply an attempt to remove ammo restrictions.
Another bill would allow out-of-staters to bring a concealed weapon into Ohio if they have a concealed handgun license from another state. This is perhaps one of the least controversial bills because state-to-state coherency in laws is generally considered a good thing on both sides of the political aisle.
The fourth and final bill would allow legislators to carry guns into statehouses and other “non-secured” public buildings. By the bill’s language, a nonsecured building is one that does not require every person to go through a metal detector. The bill might become moot, however, since the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board is thinking about investing $2 million in metal detectors for government buildings.
Some legislators might be excited by the prospect of arming themselves. Rep. Nickie Antonio (D) is not one of them.
"It's just inappropriate," she said. "We are not living out on the prairie in the Wild West.”
The bills have not even reached the floor for a vote yet, but already the proposed pieces of legislation are sparking controversy. What is your take on the bills?