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Gun Groups Offer Differing Takes On DeWine's Proposed Regulations

Dan Konik
Jim Irvine and Larry Moore, Buckeye Firearms Association

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) has said he wants input from gun rights advocates as he works on his plan to reduce gun violence, but some of Ohio's largest groups seem to be split on his proposal.

The two main issues brought up by pro-gun groups are DeWine's plan to expand background checks on gun sales and his version of the "Red Flag Law," which allows the court to take guns away from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Members with the Buckeye Firearms Association were in the room as DeWine rolled out his plan. Jim Irvine, board president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said they were not officially endorsing DeWine's ideas. However, Irvine said they wanted to work with the administration to ensure there was due process for court-ordered confiscations.

"Nobody likes what happened. Nobody likes the violence in our inner cities. What can we do about it, respecting the rights of the citizens, and make it work?" said Irvine.

Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, staunchly opposes the gun control measures. He says DeWine's proposals bring the state closer to bans on assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines.

"They want to lay this foundation so the next time a shooting happens they can come back in and get the whole enchilada," says Dorr.

Dorr claims Buckeye Firearms would lose credibility in the gun rights community for not taking a stronger stance against DeWine's proposals.

Dorr says DeWine's office did not reach out to his group to talk about the plan.

The administration did reach out to Gary Witt, legislative coordinator for Ohioans for Concealed Carry, for his support. He said he cannot endorse any plan until he sees the details.

While he did commend DeWine's plan to address access to mental health treatment, Witt says state leaders must be very careful in drafting "Red Flag Laws." Witt adds, when it comes to taking someone's guns away, other states have not provided constitutional protections.

"What opportunity does that person have to present his case? What opportunity does that person have to question the witnesses? What opportunity does that person have to retain counsel, to fight this? None, under these current systems," says Witt.

DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) noted issues with previous "Red Flag Law" proposals and say their plan takes these types of questions and concerns into account.

DeWine announced his 17-point plan to reduce gun violence just days after a gunman opened fire in the busy Oregon District of Dayton, killing nine people. DeWine says these proposals had been in the works since before the shooting, however, the mass killing did prompt the administration to release the proposal.

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