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Gov. Kasich Vetoes Bill That Could Let Out-of-State Groups Sue Ohio Cities and Towns Over Gun Safety Measures; Everytown, Ohio Moms Demand Action Respond

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded Gov. Kasich for vetoing House Bill 228, a bill that could allow out-of-state special interest groups to sue Ohio cities and towns for attempting to enact or enforce local solutions to gun violence.

“The governor saw this for what it is – an extreme attempt to punish Ohio cities and towns for trying to address gun violence,” said Laura Lewis, volunteer leader with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Most Ohioans want our lawmakers to work together and pass bipartisan gun safety legislation, like a Red Flag law and legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. We want Ohio to move forward, not backward.”

Existing Ohio law prevents cities, villages, townships, and counties from creating local laws or rules that regulate firearm ownership, possession, purchase, sale, transfer, transport, or storage. HB 228 bill would go even further, making Ohio one of only a handful of states with punitive preemption laws that allow people and groups – potentially including out-of-state special interests – to take localities to court for attempting to enact or enforce local solutions to gun violence.

This would not solve a problem with the existing law. Instead, it would allow powerful interests to enrich themselves further at the expense of Ohio taxpayers. One group alone has sued or threatened to sue hundreds of cities, in states from Maryland to Washington, that it claims have violated laws similar to HB 228.

Prior to last week, HB 228 included a “Stand Your Ground” provision and language that would have encouraged people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or firearm safety training by removing the threat of serious punishment. But after widespread opposition – and a lengthy hearing at which Ohio law enforcement leaders, Moms Demand Action volunteers and others shared their concerns – lawmakers dropped these provisions from the bill.

Moms Demand Action volunteers drove more than 500 calls and more than 2,000 messages to the governor’s office urging Gov. Kasich to veto HB 228, after driving more than 4,000 calls and more than 6,000 messages to the legislature urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.