Gun-rights advocates praise legislation

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pointing to Michigan as Exhibit A, Republican gun-rights advocates in Ohio on introduced bills last week that would prohibit state and local governments from infringing on gun access and use in the heat of an emergency. While not an issue in Ohio during the coronavirus pandemic, the bills’ sponsors, state Rep. Scott Wiggam (R., Wooster) and state Sen. Tim Schaffer (R., Lancaster), said the state shouldn’t wait until the next emergency occurs under a different governor. “[Michigan] Gov. Gretchen Whitmer restricted the ability of people to buy firearms as part of her COVID response,” said Chris Lee, lobbyist for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “And later over the summer she was quoted as saying she would happily do it again. “When a state like Michigan, with a long history of support for firearm ownership, has shifted to allow unprecedented restrictions on the Second Amendment, it really drives home the point that this legislation is badly needed in Ohio and obviously in Michigan as well,” he said. The National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association were also on hand to support the bill’s passage. The Senate last session passed a bill to prohibit the forced closing of federally licensed gun dealers during the pandemic, but it stalled in the House of Representatives. The new bills would prohibit government restrictions on possession, transportation, carrying, training, and concealed-carry licensing during declared emergencies. They come as Gov. Mike DeWine struggles to convince fellow Republicans in the General Assembly to enact […]

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