Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called on lawmakers in the Buckeye State this week to pass a series of reforms aimed at blunting the spike in gun-related violence.
The reforms are part of a larger plan called “STRONG Ohio” that DeWine introduced in October of 2019 in the wake of the Dayton massacre.
“I’m going to keep saying it. We have to, in Ohio, get tougher on repeat violent offenders,” DeWine stated on Tuesday, according to local media.
“We have to get tougher on those who are convicted felons who have absolutely no business having a gun. We need to do this. We have pending in the state legislature a bill that would do that and I would urge my friends in the general assembly to take that bill up,” he added.
DeWine renewed his call for the bill after 40 people were shot, 21 fatally, in a six-day period from Sept. 1 through Labor Day.
The bullet points of the “STRONG Ohio” legislation are as follows:
- Create a process in Ohio law, similar to the current probate court process that directs those suffering from severe mental health conditions into court-ordered treatment, to give hospitals and courts a better ability to help those who are legally declared to be a danger to themselves or others due to drug dependency or chronic alcoholism;
- Ensure that citizens have full due process at all probate court hearings;
- Ensure that those legally declared by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others do not have access to firearms;
- Give family members of those who may be a danger to themselves or others because of drug dependency or chronic alcoholism the ability to more easily petition the probate court for court-ordered treatment;
- Mandate that law enforcement agencies and courts enter certain protection orders and arrest warrants for serious crimes into state and federal law enforcement databases to ensure more accurate background check results;
- Create a new private-sale background check process that will increase the number of background checks conducted in Ohio while also protecting the privacy of law-abiding gun owners;
- Create a legal safe harbor for firearms sellers who require private-sale background checks;
- Increase penalties for those who sell or provide a firearm to someone legally prohibited from possessing a gun;
- Give judges a range of sentences for felony cases in which a gun was either possessed, brandished, or used;
- Increase the penalty for those who are found with a gun while legally prohibited from possessing a firearm;
- Increase the penalty for selling a gun to a minor;
- Increase penalties for straw purchases and knowingly possessing a straw-purchased gun.
Proponents of the bill have positioned it as a fair compromise between those on either side of the gun divide.
“I understand that this bill probably doesn’t go far enough for some and too far for others. That said, this bill needs and should pass with bi-partisan support,” said Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), the bill’s sponsor. “The victims of gun violence deserve action, and a society fearful of future violence can be crippling. This bill addresses these concerns and will help make Ohio safer.”