Ohio lawmakers pass bill designating gun shops as ‘essential business’ during pandemic

Ohio lawmakers pass bill designating gun shops as ‘essential business’ during pandemic
FILE PHOTO: Ohio lawmakers recently passed legislation that includes gun shops as "essential businesses." (John Moore/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio lawmakers recently passed legislation that includes gun shops as “essential businesses.”

The Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 360, which would prohibit any public official from closing licensed firearm stores during a pandemic, WSYX reported.

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“It’s just totally unnecessary in an emergency situation like the pandemic, to make sure that, that business is considered essential,” Toby Hoover, founder of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, told WSYX. “The more people who think they have to go out and purchase a gun and instead of defending themselves against someone... We’re seeing more suicides, more domestic violence, more kids getting ahold of guns.”

Gun store owners are hopeful the bill will be signed by the governor.

“We are considered essential, but this is to ensure that going forward that is in place regardless of who is in power at the state level or at the city level,” gun shop owner Eric Delbert said.

Delbert said that during the pandemic, sales went from 10 guns a day to 100.

“(The bill) does a lot of good, it ensures that it in time of crisis throughout the state or the city or national guarantees that gun stores or FFL holders are allowed to still be open,” Delbert said.