AP Photo/Matt York, File
Laws are tricky things. When we read them and our eyes start to glaze over at the odd use of language, it’s because they have to be written in such a way that they can’t be misconstrued.
However, sometimes lawmakers screw up.
Apparently, that happened recently in Ohio. While the lawmakers were trying to craft a pro-gun bill, language landed in the bill that could have been used by anti-gun prosecutors or judges in a very different way.
On Monday, the governor of Ohio signed a bill seeking to correct that.
Mike DeWine has signed his first bill as governor. Lawmakers say the bill corrects what they believed to be an oversight in last year’s self-defense gun bill – an oversight that could’ve resulted in banning shotguns and rifles, such as AR-15’s.
After a topsy turvy lame duck session last year, the so called “Stand Your Ground” bill went through several changes, including removing the “Stand Your Ground” language. But it passed with what gun rights groups say was an error that could be translated as a gun ban.
DeWine commended the legislature for moving the correction bill quickly.
Lawmakers still want to revisit the Stand Your Ground provision in the near future.
Like DeWine, I’m glad the legislature moved as quickly as they did to correct this. However, I can’t help but shake my head at the fact they had to in the first place.
This is the kind of thing that you’d think someone would have warned them off before they passed the law. It could then have been fixed with an amendment. If that hadn’t been possible, they could have just scrapped it and started over this year. They didn’t. Luckily, no one tried anything with the new law.
In the future, I sincerely hope lawmakers have enough sense to pay attention to their wording. If they’re not going to write the laws in plain English so everyone can read and interpret them easily, the least they can do is make them unambiguous and accurate in their legalese. The last thing any of us need is accidental gun regulations, for crying out loud.
As it is, we have enough problems with anti-gun activists and lawmakers in every state. The last thing we need to do is shoot ourselves in the foot (metaphorically speaking) and giving them something they want because no one was paying attention. I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.
To our readers in Ohio, do me a solid and let your lawmakers know just how displeased you are at this. Reach out to them and remind them that stupidity and incompetence is not a plan of action and they’re fortunate they had enough votes to undo their mistake before it cost someone. Let them know and let them know you’re not interested in giving them a pass on this kind of nonsense a second time. That’s assuming you’re willing to give them a pass on this one.
If you’re not, well, I can’t say that I blame you.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Arkansas’ governor signed a bill allowing for a change in the state’s gun law. The state was Ohio and Ohio’s governor.