Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley stood near Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday as he announced his 17-point plan to reform the state’s gun laws.
This wasn’t the first time the Dayton mayor had shared a podium with the governor. In August, Gov. DeWine visited Dayton after a lone gunman murdered 10 innocent people in an entertainment district of the city with a high-powered firearm.
But the usual rhetoric from the governor that day after the mass shooting drew a stern reaction from the crowd of mourners who together raised their voices and chanted, “Do something.”
The governor’s immediate response was a call for background checks on almost all gun sales in the state and a red-flag law to allow authorities to take guns from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Two months later, the governor unveiled a proposed bill to present to lawmakers that in many ways falls short of his initial proposal in the summer. Gov. DeWine said the STRONG Ohio bill, part of the governor’s STRONG Ohio violence prevention plan, would preserve Second Amendment rights, expand treatment options and prevent violence. This all would come from safety protection orders, background checks, due process, help for those in crisis and increased penalties for gun crimes, according to Gov. DeWine.
While Mayor Whaley said after the announcement this week that the governor’s proposed bill doesn’t go far enough to protect citizens, it’s an “important start.”
Mayor Whaley said political processes move slowly.
The epidemic of fatal, senseless shootings around Ohio and the country demands quick action from lawmakers. Quick action would ideally put measures in place to reduce access to high-powered firearms, save lives, give citizens a greater sense of security and preserve Second Amendment rights.
Gov. DeWine said he wants to create a voluntary background check process for private gun sales. In our view, this falls short of the near-universal background checks he talked about in August.
It’s already illegal to sell a firearm to someone not permitted to have one in Ohio. Gov. DeWine’s plan would make it illegal to negligently sell a gun to someone who should not own one.
Under his new proposal, people selling a gun privately could go to the county sheriff to get a background check done on the potential buyer. The sheriff would issue a seller protection certificate if the background check comes back clean. This would give the seller confidence that the buyer is responsible, according to the DeWine plan.
The governor’s plan also increases penalties for negligently selling firearms from a fourth-degree felony to a third-degree felony, doubling jail time and fines.
He also is proposing the expansion of the state’s pink-slip law which allows authorities to send people with substance abuse problems to psychiatric hospitals. This is different from the red-flag law the governor talked about in August where judges can order guns to be taken from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. Under the governor’s latest proposal, people undergoing court-ordered treatment would be allowed to sell their firearms to licensed dealers or turn them over to a family member or police.
The governor’s plan will be sponsored by state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls. Gov. DeWine said the changes would decrease violence and respect the Second Amendment.
There is no doubt that the governor’s plan is not as strong as supporters of major gun reform want. Passing any reform measures will be difficult in the Republican-dominated General Assembly that has slowly been trying to loosen gun restrictions over the years.
Citizens deserve to feel safe whether they are walking down the street on a Saturday night or walking down the hallway in school. The governor and lawmakers need to make this STRONG Ohio bill even stronger.