As the state’s war to protect residents from the global COVID-19 pandemic has gone on, one tactic lawmakers and public health officials have used is ordering private businesses to temporarily close their doors, to reduce individuals’ exposure to the virus in public settings.
Using public-health orders to discourage people from venturing out into potentially crowded places has been controversial among some people, and the constitutionality of using emergency public-health powers depends on many factors.
What is not up for debate is the inalienable rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms, which is why state Sen. Larry Obhof (R–Medina) introduced Senate Bill 360 (S.B. 360), a bill that would prohibit any government official from ordering Ohio licensed firearms dealers, on either a statewide or regional basis, to close.
Although this has not happened in Ohio, Democrat governors in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania did not deem firearms dealers to be essential businesses exempted from stay-at-home or other coronavirus-related health orders. This oversight, whether accidental or intentional, effectively deprived residents of their constitutional rights to defend themselves… an unacceptable outcome.
The bill, if passed, would prohibit any future governor, appointed officer or local official from using public health as a rationale to stop Ohioans from exercising their inalienable rights as Americans.
S.B. 360 has not yet received a hearing by the state Government Oversight and Reform Committee, overseen by Sen. Bill Coley (R–Liberty Township). Coley makes the decisions on scheduling hearings for his committee, so if this is important to you… you know who to talk to and ask for it to be scheduled.