COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tomorrow is the one year mark of the mass shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) High School in St. Louis. On October 24th, 2022 a former student entered the school and opened fire, shooting and killing two people and shooting and wounding four more The shooting was a direct result of Missouri’s dangerous gun laws, including the state’s law to nullify federal gun safety laws in the state. The dangerous law has tied the hands of law enforcement, and has since been ruled unconstitutional. Despite the results of this policy and the recent ruling, Ohio lawmakers are advancing a similar bill, House Bill 51, which attempts to subvert and undermine federal gun laws and penalize state and local law enforcement agencies who attempt to assist in the enforcement of federal gun safety protections.
“The last thing Ohio needs is an additional barrier to gun violence prevention,” said Kelsie Fields, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As we mark one year since the preventable shooting at CVPA High School, we are reminded of the real life danger lawmakers’ political decisions have on our lives. Legislation like this ties the hands of law enforcement and the state and local leaders who are trying to keep our communities safe. It’s counterproductive, incredibly dangerous, and lawmakers should be focused on passing laws that are proven to save lives instead of harmful bills like this one.”
Federal nullification laws, like the one being considered in the Ohio legislature, severely limit even the most basic law enforcement cooperation between state and federal entities, potentially interfering with a range of criminal investigations. Similar regulations have been adopted in other states, and law enforcement there have reported facing major difficulties.
The shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis served as a tragic example of the dangers of these laws – it was a direct result of Missouri’s gun policy failures and could have been prevented if common sense gun safety measures were in place. Prior to the shooting, the shooter’s family asked law enforcement to remove firearms from the home that were ultimately used in the shooting. Because of Missouri’s dangerous policy that nullifies federal public safety laws in Missouri, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, law enforcement believed they were unable to remove firearms from the shooter. When conducting an investigation of the shooter, police learned the grounds for the removal of firearms was based on a federal prohibition not mirrored in Missouri law. Police revealed they felt powerless to act because under Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, they would be penalized for enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of a federal gun law or even for contacting federal law enforcement partners to report the commision of a federal felony. This policy, which undermines law enforcement’s ability to keep Missouri safe, threatening law enforcement with fines and sanctions, was ruled unconstitutional in March.
Despite being ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge and upheld just this past Friday, and Missouri’s policy failing resulting in lives lost, Ohio lawmakers are currently moving a similar bill through the legislature. The House Government Oversight Committee vote on HB 51 is presently pending. The dangerous proposal should be rejected by lawmakers before it has any negative effects on the people of Ohio. Ohio HB 51 currently awaits a House Government Oversight committee vote. Lawmakers should reject this dangerous legislation before it results in real life consequences.