A new bill in the Ohio legislature could block federal enforcement of gun laws in the state.

Introduced by Reps. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, and Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, House Bill 51 would add further protections to the right to bear arms, remove federal firearms law references from the state firearms control law, and declare an emergency “for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety,” allowing the act to go into immediate effect upon enactment (typically a signed act becomes law after 90 days). 

The legislation takes several steps to protect the Second Amendment, according to a Feb. 16 news release from Loychik’s office.

“As a conservative representative for the people of Trumbull and Ashtabula Counties, I strongly support protecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms here in Ohio,” Loychik said in the release. “This bill further protects the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The bill, Loychik said, would remove federal firearms law references from the state firearms control law.

“I have worked closely in conjunction with the Speaker to move this bill forward to ensure we are protecting the Second Amendment for Ohioans,” he said.

HB 51 is currently in House committee.

Reaction to Similar Legislation in Missouri

According to The Columbus Dispatch, legislation similar to Ohio’s HB 51 was passed by Missouri lawmakers in 2021.

It says federal laws that violate the state’s stance on the Second Amendment cannot be enforced within Missouri’s borders.

Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, said Missouri has been plagued by “chaos and confusion” since its passage. 

According to the paper, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state in February 2022 because “a state cannot simply declare federal laws invalid.” 

“This act impedes criminal law enforcement operations in Missouri,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“The United States will work to ensure that our state and local law enforcement partners are not penalized for doing their jobs to keep our communities safe.” 

Sixty Missouri police chiefs also wrote a friend of the court brief saying the new law hindered their “ability to defend and protect Missouri citizens,” the paper reported.

Loychik said his bill was similar to Missouri’s but not an exact replica.

“There have been changes that have been made,” he said. “This bill is a lot stronger.”

He also disagreed with the assumption that HB 51 violates the Supremacy Clause, which says federal laws generally override state laws.

“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.” 

But Ohio’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Commission noted that a Supremacy Clause was possible in its bill analysis.

Other Gun-Related Bills Being Considered in Ohio

Ohio has 2-year legislative sessions. The current session began Jan. 1, 2023, and will end at midnight Dec. 31, 2024. Bills introduced during a session must be passed before the end of the session. Below are three additional gun-related bills that have been proposed during the state’s  135th General Assembly Regular Session.

Civil immunity for self-defense for nonprofits

Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, has introduced Senate Bill 32, which would grant civil immunity to a person who acts in self-defense or to protect the members or guests of a nonprofit corporation under certain circumstances.

SB 32 is in Senate committee.

Prohibition against requiring firearms liability insurance

Senate Bill 58, introduced by Sens. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, and Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, would prohibit requiring fees or liability insurance for the possession of firearms or fees for the possession of knives.

SB 58 is in Senate committee.

Roll back stand-your-ground law, reimpose duty to retreat

Rep. Latyna M. Humphrey, D-Franklin County, has proposed House Bill 62, which would apply limits to locations at which citizens would have no duty to retreat.

HB 62 would effectively roll back stand-your-ground legislation and limit no duty to retreat to a person’s home and vehicle only. It also would allow courts to consider the possibility of retreat as a factor in cases of self-defense.

HB 62 has yet to advance from the proposal stage.