Crime And Law

DeWine again urges lawmakers to consider gun reform proposals, warns of ‘summer of violence’

COLUMBUS — In the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting in Springfield that sent six people to area hospitals, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine again called upon state lawmakers to consider proposed legislation aimed at gun reform.

>>RELATED: DeWine: 2 in custody after mass shooting injures 6 in Springfield

DeWine spoke on the shooting Wednesday around 10 a.m., minutes before signing House Bill 170 into law, a bill that will provide additional funding to schools with money from the federal CARES Act.

>>PHOTOS: 6 injured in shooting on South Yellow Springs Street in Springfield

“What happened early this morning in Springfield is a tragedy,” DeWine said. “In Springfield, gun violence there continues but it is not unique to Springfield. We see this in cities across our state.”

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: DeWine to try again on gun reform

DeWine said during his comments two people were in custody in connection to the shooting, a comment that has since been disputed by Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf who said no one is in custody during a news conference with city leaders.

However in DeWine’s comments, he said one of the suspected shooters was a person under disability and “had absolutely no right to have a gun.”

A person under disability, as defined in the Ohio Revised Code, can mean many things, including the person has either been indicted or convicted of a felony involving a violent act, or drug trafficking or abuse. Other stipulations could lead to a violation of the ORC definition of having weapons while under disability.

DeWine urged the state’s General Assembly to consider and look at gun control legislation, previously proposed by DeWine, that has stalled-out among lawmakers.

“We’re looking at a summer of violence in our cities. We have to take action,” DeWine said. “Give the police the tools, give the prosecutors the tools, give the judges, at their discretion, the tools to use to deal with these individuals and separate them from society,” DeWine said.

>>RELATED: Ohio’s new ‘stand your ground’ law now in effect

Wednesday marks DeWine’s latest attempt since the Oregon District Shooting in August 2019, where he promised he would “do something” to stop gun violence.

Then, DeWine introduced legislation he termed “Strong Ohio” but it went nowhere in the state’s General Assembly. A large portion of the DeWine “Strong Ohio” plan would have kept guns out of the hands of people who the legal system identifies as among those who should not have access to guns. They include people convicted of a crime who are under court order to not posses a gun.

Another measure would have allowed greater flexibility for judges to temporarily keep a person in mental distress from their own weapons while they undergo a mental evaluation and counseling.

The state legislature approved bills to loosen restrictions including a “stand your ground” law that allows people to use deadly force anywhere and any time they feel that their lives are threatened. While DeWine signed “stand your ground” into law earlier this year, he said he was “disappointed” some gun control measures were not included.

“I have always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation,” DeWine said in a statement after signing the bill in January. “I am very disappointed, however, that the legislature did not include in this bill the essential provisions that I proposed to make it harder for dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns.”

“Right now, the national and state background check systems are sometimes missing vital information – things such as convictions, active protection orders, and open warrants – that alert law enforcement if they’re dealing with a wanted or potentially dangerous individual,” DeWine said.

DeWine again tried earlier this year by including some of the gun reform proposals in the state budget, including $10 million to buy body-worn cameras for departments across the state, and $5 million for safety grants to Ohio schools and universities. The safety measures include technology and preventative techniques to help detect “red flags” in the community that might indicate a violent outbreak might be in the making before it actually happens.

“We are not giving up. The pledge I made to the people of the Miami Valley, we are going to continue to fight, continue to do everything we can to support local law enforcement. We are going to do everything we can to continue the commitment I made to the people of the Miami Valley in regard to initiatives that will save lives,” DeWine said.