COLUMBUS, OHIO — A bill passed in the Statehouse would inadvertently make a million Ohio gun owner’s felons overnight.
House Bill 228 becomes a law on March 28 of this year. It was meant to expand stipulations in which shooting someone in self-defense is legally justified. But as it currently stands, it also makes owning certain rifles, guns with pistol grips or a weapon longer than 26 inches a felony.
According to WHOIO TV 7, The bill also attempted to align Ohio law with federal law regarding short-barrel weapons, or generally speaking shotguns with barrel lengths less than 16 inches.
Such guns are legal under federal law but classified as illegal in Ohio, even though many gun stores sell them. As the bill was being drafted, a misplaced paragraph unintentionally lumped a variety of long guns into a prohibited category.
Those could include semi-automatic AK-47s and any long gun with a pistol grip, which could also affect shotguns used in competitive shooting.
It’s unclear if the mistake would cause gun owners problems in “real-world terms,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of the gun rights group Buckeye Firearms, who said who said he’s consulted with lawyers for the National Rifle Association and Ohio’s Legislative Services Commission, among others.
Nevertheless, “We would prefer they deal with it immediately because it is causing a lot of concern and confusion among gun owners in Ohio,” Rieck said.
“It’s legally murky right now,” said state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp. “It could prohibit the sale of some firearms, which we do not want to do. That was a mistake. Our hope right now is to fix that mistake by the effective date so that it never affects anyone.”
Antani said, “it would be up to each jurisdiction as to how they enforce the new law. And he said he doesn’t believe county prosecutors would enforce that portion of it”.
But that’s not the point, said July Sparks of the Black Swamp Oathkeepters group. “We’ll already be prosecuted by being picked up. We’ll already be considered guilty. We just became felons. It’s not if the law passes – it passed,” Sparks said.
An amendment to the new bill will need to be introduced by March 20; to fix this grievous error. So far, the proposed amendments have only made this law worst.
The mistake illustrates the problem of rushing legislation through a lame duck session, said Sen. Cecil Thomas, a Democrat from Cincinnati.
“It’s just a bad way to do business now, and mistakes are made, and this is an example of that,” said Thomas, a retired police officer.
Was this a mistake, or has this been a deliberate manipulation? Ohio is one of the most important swing states that federal government covets. Could this lead to other states introducing similar legislation that in turn strips our second amendment rights?
Our second amendment right reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Does this sound like Ohio law makers are upholding our second amendment right? While they present this as a “mistake” I have to wonder could this be part of a bigger picture being played out?
A rally is planned for March 28 at the Ohio Capital to make sure this bill does not turn millions of Ohioans into felons overnight.
Quotes and statements collected by: