I have seen a lot of articles about the gun bill screw up in Ohio.
A common source article for other reports is one from the AP.
A mistake in writing up an Ohio bill could inadvertently ban several types of already legal guns and must be fixed quickly, gun rights advocates say.
At issue is legislation approved by lawmakers last year that allows off-duty police officers to carry firearms and phases in pre-emption of many local firearms restrictions, among other changes.
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.
What? Shotguns with barrels less than 16 inches are NFA items and are generally illegal. I don’t know if Ohio bans NFA items, like Illinois does, so that you can’t get them at all.
I did a lot of searching to figure out what is going on here, and finally came across this article in the Springfield Sun-News.
A bill passed in the Statehouse would inadvertently make a million Ohio gun owners lawbreakers.
House Bill 228 was meant to expand stipulations in which shooting someone in self-defense is legally justified. But as it currently stands, when it becomes law on March 28 it also makes owning certain rifles, guns with pistol grips or a weapon longer than 26 inches a felony.
Finally, a source. HB 228.
What exactly is the problem?
All the way down in the bill is the section on definitions.
Sec. 2923.11. As used in sections 2923.11 to 2923.24 of the Revised Code:
(K) “Dangerous ordnance” means any of the following, except as provided in division (L) of this section:
(7) Any firearm with an overall length of at least twenty- six inches that is approved for sale by the federal bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives under the “Gun Control Act of 1968,” 82 Stat. 1213, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3), but that is found by the bureau not to be regulated under the “National Firearms Act,” 68A Stat. 725 (1934), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a).
Okay, now I get what is going on.
The law bans a firearm with an overall length of 26 inches that is not an NFA item, which is just about every long gun in existence.
There are already bills in the house to strike this paragraph from the law so everybody with a long gun in Ohio doesn’t become a felon for having a long gun.
There are three lessons here.
First, the AP and all the reporters who quote the AP know absolutely Jack about guns and gun laws, which is why that nonsensical confusing paragraph was published.
Second, this is why so few people understand gun laws, because the media reports them for shit.
Third, this is an example of our legislative process turning to shit, that the language of a bill can become so mired in minutia that your average citizen doesn’t understand the law and may very well break it without intent.
Maybe Shakespeare was right. Kill all the lawyers.
There should be a clause in our Constitution, that any law indented to regulate something should be understandable by a random selection of people to be regulated.
If you want to pass a law that regulates a civil liberty, if that law can’t be understood by 50 randomly selected US citizens, throw it out, because it is too complicated to be readily followed by the other 320 million citizens it applies to.