Democratic Lawmakers Unveil Gun Reform Plan

Pointing to the August 4, 2019 Oregon District shooting in Dayton, Democratic lawmakers said Monday Ohio needs tougher gun laws to protect people from deadly violence.

More than a dozen Democrats lined up to voice support for a list of gun bills, many of which have been introduced before but failed to win passage.

Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., D- Dayton, said the memory of the shooting in Dayton is still fresh on his mind.

“Almost two years after that incident people are still saying “do something.” “There is an urgent need to change now and the only way to get that change is through action,” Blackshear said.

The proposals would expand background checks for people buying weapons, create “risk protection orders” to temporarily take guns from people who are judged to be a threat to themselves or other people, mandate secure storage of guns, give local communities the legal power to set their own laws rather than follow state standards and repeal the recently-passed law that struck down “duty to retreat.”

Under that law, a person could use their gun to protect themselves if they believe their life is in danger, no matter where they are and they no longer are obligated by the law to leave the area when threatened.

House Minority Leader, Rep. Emilia Sykes, D- Akron, said the package of bills being introduced is the answer to the Dayton shooting that people were looking for.

“In the 100 days following the shooting, Ohioans spoke loudly and the spoke clearly urging us to do something,” Sykes said.

Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives have been reluctant to pass more restrictions on guns. Rep. Kyle Koehler, R- Springfield, said passing more laws is not the answer. “When it comes to laws that the Democrats are trying to pass we have laws already on the books that people are ignoring,” Koehler said.

Koehler used the “red flag” law in Indiana as an example.

The recent mass shooting in Indianapolis happened even though the shooter at one point was considered to be a threat to himself and others and had his guns removed.

Later though, he legally was able to guy two new guns. In that case, Koehler said the law failed to work.

“That sounds like the laws are on the books and the system is not being maintained the way it should be,” Koehler said.

Late in 2019, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine backed a line-up of bills similar to the ones proposed by Democrats this week.

He said earlier this year he has not given up hope of getting some kind of gun reform package passed.