More than three months after a mass shooting in Dayton left nine dead and dozens injured, state lawmakers began debate Tuesday on a bill that calls for modest changes in Ohio gun laws.
Gov. Mike DeWine said his proposals are constitutional, effective at curbing gun violence and stand a chance of being adopted by the conservative Ohio General Assembly.
Even before the first hearing started on Senate Bill 221, gun rights and gun control groups agreed: they don’t like it.
Ohio Gun Owners said in an email to members urging opposition to the bill: “You see, if (Lt. Gov. Jon) Husted and DeWine have their way, they’ll never stop until our ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones from killers and tyrants is outlawed and our firearms confiscated.”
Everytown for Gun Safety criticized DeWine, saying he backpedaled on his pledge after the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton to ask lawmakers to enact universal background checks for gun purchases.
SB221, sponsored by state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, calls for a state-run voluntary background check system for private party firearms sales and it calls for expanding the use of ‘pink slips’ — a 72-hour hospitalization hold on mental health patients — to include those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction who are exhibiting signs of threatening behavior or violence.
Current state laws don’t specify that any weapons belonging to patients be removed during this process. Federal laws prevent anyone who has been court ordered into treatment from possessing or buying a gun.
Dolan said the 72-hour hold would separate people who are danger from their firearms, giving time to hold a hearing in probate court on their fitness to have access to weapons. He said the changes would enhance existing law.
Everytown called for DeWine to push for a ‘red flag’ law that would allow police or family to seek a court order to seize weapons from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
Lawmakers also held hearings on two other gun control bills co-sponsored by Democrat Cecil Thomas of Cincinnati and Republican Peggy Lehner of Kettering. Senate Bill 223 would ban bump stocks and Senate Bill 203 would require background checks for firearm sales at gun shows. Those bills are not expected to gain final approval by lawmakers.
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