Gun Laws & Legislation

Red State Lawmakers Look To Ban Local Gov’ts From Enforcing Federal Gun Laws

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Bronson Winslow Second Amendment & Politics Reporter
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Ohio Republicans are working to block local government and law enforcement agencies from assisting the federal government in enforcing federal acts, laws or executive orders related to firearms, according to recently introduced legislation.

Republican Ohio state Reps. Mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt introduced House Bill 51 into the Ohio Legislature on Feb. 15, saying the bill was a protection for police officers who did not want to enforce President Joe Biden’s “brigade against Ohioans,” according to The Columbus Dispatch. Under the bill, federal laws that relate to the “possession, ownership, use or transfer of a firearm, accessory or ammunition by law-abiding citizens,” or laws that call for “confiscating firearms, accessories or ammunition from law-abiding citizens” would be blocked from enforcement, according to the legislation.

“Every police officer I’ve talked to in the last two years has expressed their opposition to ever being forced to become Joe Biden’s enforcement brigade against Ohioans,” Loychik told the Dispatch. “This bill protects those from ever having to make that decision.”

Local governments that violate the bill will be be subject to civil lawsuits and penalties up to $50,000 for each violation, according to the legislation.(RELATED: Red State Gov Refuses To Enforce Feds’ Pistol Brace Rule That ‘Erodes The Second Amendment’)

The proposed legislation also blocks local governments from acting on federal laws that impose taxes on firearms or accessories that are not common or create a “chilling effect” for residents, according to the legislation. The bill will also block the enforcement of any registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories and firearm owners.

The bill mirrors a law passed in Missouri in 2021 that restricts the enforcement of federal laws which violate the state’s view of the Second Amendment, according to the Dispatch. The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Missouri after the law was passed, saying the state could not “simply declare federal laws invalid,” according to a DOJ press release.

Loychik believes that HB 51 is even stronger than Missouri’s law, according to the Dispatch. “There have been changes that have been made. This bill is a lot stronger,” he said, noting that the bill will not violate the Supremacy Clause.

“House Bill 51 does not challenge that,” Loychik said. “It simply states that the state of Ohio will not help the federal government agencies enforce their gun-control agenda by commandeering our local enforcement.”

Earlier in February, Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, saying that Montana would not enforce the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) final rule for pistol braces.

The letter follows HB 258, passed by the Montana Legislature in 2021, a law that blocks peace officers, state employees or employees of a political subdivision “from enforcing, assisting in the enforce of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition,” according to the legislation.

“Our right to keep and bear arms is integral to Montana’s and our nation’s rich heritage, and this rule directly violates our long-held traditions. The rule also ignores the design and intent of stabilizing braces – to help disabled veterans fire large format pistols,” Gianforte said in the letter.

Loychik and the DOJ did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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