Ohio governor announces gun control plan

Ohio governor announces gun control plan
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for background checks on gun sales, red-flag law in August, days after a mass shooting in Dayton. (Source: WSYX)

COLUMBUS (FOX19) - Two months after a deadly mass shooting in Dayton, Gov. Mike DeWine announced details Monday for new legislation to try to reduce gun violence.

The governor unveiled legislation as part of his STRONG Ohio plan to address gun violence, according to a news release from his office.

The legislative proposal will contain the portions of his 17-point STRONG Ohio plan that require changes in Ohio law in order to enact.

It’s a plan he unveiled in August, a few days after crowds shouted “Do Something" at him during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District that killed nine people and the shooter.

DeWine said during his August 6 news conference he realized the crowd was angry, he heard their chants and would take action. “They were absolutely right,” he said.

Then, he called on state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring background checks for most gun sales and allow court courts to restrict firearm access for potentially dangerous people.

Ohio voters are divided on stricter gun laws but overwhelmingly back universal background checks, according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll.

A wide gender gap leaves Ohio voters divided on stricter gun laws in the state as 48 percent support stricter gun laws, with 46 percent opposed, the poll found.

Women support stricter gun laws 54 - 38 percent, with men opposed 54 - 40 percent, according to the poll.

There is no division, however, as Ohio voters support 90 - 8 percent, including 87 - 11 percent among gun owners, background checks for all gun buyers, the poll concluded.

Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said in August his group “enthusiastically supports” DeWine’s background-check proposals.

It’s not clear yet, however, how the governor’s plans will fare in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has done more to expand than restrict access to firearms in recent years.

There also are several pending gun-related bills.

After DeWine announced his 17-point plan in August, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder told reporters it would be “very, very difficult" for the House to approve it.

Beyond that, Householder told FOX19 NOW early Monday he had no specifics on what DeWine would say at his news conference.

“The administration has not discussed their plan with the House, so we have no idea what the plan is. I don’t know if the Senate has been working with the Lt Governor on the plan or not. But the House has not seen any language and the last time I talked with the administration on this was two months ago when the governor’s plan was in its infancy. Until we know what the proposal is, I can’t comment on it," he said.

Sen. Cecil Thomas, D-North Avondale, says he does have details and has consulted with the governor on it.

Earlier this year, Thomas and Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) announced they introduced a bill to allow cities in Ohio to implement gun reforms. He said for more than a decade, Ohio cities and towns have had little ability to proactively prevent gun violence.

Thomas calls DeWine’s plan “a step in the right direction.”

“It attempts to address violence on two fronts, mass shootings, and local street violence," said Thomas, a retired longtime Cincinnati police detective.

"Although the Senate Democratic Caucus had concerns regarding some of the increased penalties, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko and I met with the Governor to discuss changes. After some discussion, we were satisfied with his adjustments.

“We know this will not bring an end to the violence but it’s taking Ohio in the right direction. If one life is saved as a result of this legislation, then it’s a success. The challenge for the governor and my caucus is getting both houses to agree. The Senate Democratic Caucus with help from Republican senators like Peggy Lehner, continue to fight for universal background checks, closing guns show loopholes, raising the age to 21 and Red Flag laws. I urge citizens to continue supporting the effort for a ballot initiative by signing the petition. We (will) go to the people with a ballot initiative. Let the people decide."

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