Lawmaker Defends Sweeping Semi-Auto Ban

Townhall Media

It's rare for a gun control advocate to actually sit down and have a conversation with someone on the pro-2A side of the aisle, so I'll give Ohio State Rep. Willis Blackshear credit for accepting Eric Delbert's invitation to join him on the On Target radio show this past weekend to discuss Blackshear's bill banning "mass casualty weapons." It would have been easy for Blackshear to turn down or ignore Delbert's offer, but the lawmaker instead chose to engage in a real conversation about the legislation, and I'm glad he did. 


Unfortunately for Blackshear, the discussion revealed that the bill he's pushing really is as unconstitutional and unworkable as most of us suspected. 

HB 433 would make it a felony under Ohio law to purchase or possess a "mass casualty weapon"; defined by Blackshear's bill as "any semi-automatic firearm designed or specially adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other than a firearm chambering only.22 caliber short, long, or long-rifle cartridges." 

That would ban almost every semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine, but Blackshear insisted its a "common sense" measure that respects the Second Amendment. Even when Delbert explained that about 85% of the products sold at LEPD Firearms and Range would be classified as "mass casualty weapons" under HB 433, Blackshear claimed that wasn't his intent. 

"Most guns have between 15 to 30 magazines. You have folks that are adding magazines that can hold more than 31 bullets. That's where the issue is," Blackshear claimed. But his bill isn't a magazine ban. It bans firearms that can accept a detachable magazine that holds more than 31 rounds, which means it bans the vast majority of semi-automatic firearms not chambered in .22 variants. Even when Delbert explained that unmodified firearms can accept magazines of any size, Blackshear insisted that wasn't his intent. 

If that's truly the case, Blackshear's next step should be to pull the bill from consideration and start again. I doubt that a ban on magazines that can hold more than 30 rounds would fare any better in the Ohio statehouse right now, but if that's what he's intending then his legislation should reflect that. Instead, Blackshear told Delbert that his bill isn't likely to move forward anyway, which raises the question of why Blackshear even bothered to introduce legislation that doesn't stand a chance of being enacted into law. 


"This is not the end all, be all. There will have to be other things that will have to take place to prevent mass shootings and stuff. So I'm not coming to you and I didn't introduce this bill telling people, 'hey, let's get this signed back into law and then that will happen. But from the statistics, 'assault weapons' and 'high capacity' magazines are frequently used in the violence that we see in our nation." 

Blackshear contends that his bill would simply re-establish a previous law that was on the books in Ohio until about a decade ago, but the Buckeye State has never banned all semi-automatic firearms that can accept detachable magazines, which, unintentionally or not, is exactly what Blackshear's legislation would do. 

Delbert tells Bearing Arms that he's pleased Blackshear accepted his invite, and he hopes that the lawmaker has a better understanding of the real-world consequences of HB 433.

"I hope if he's a sensible person who truly wants to make change for constituents in his area, and he's adamant about this then hopefully he'll reach out [again]. We'd love to enlighten him and tell him where things can be done. There are certainly things to effect change that aren't being done."

Delbert says those efforts should be directed against violent criminals, however, not lawful gun owners. That's proven to be a much tougher sell for Democrats nationally, who much prefer to target gun ownership and the Second Amendment, but maybe Blackshear's next surprise for gun owners will be one they can support: scrapping his gun ban bill and replacing it with legislation that's aimed directly at violent actors instead of the right to keep and bear arms. 


Check out Delbert's interview with Rep. Blackshear in the video window above, and tune in to our own conversation in the video window below. 


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