Ohio Senate Committee Considers Seven New Gun Bills

Sep 17, 2019

Of the seven bills the Ohio Senate's Government Oversight and Reform Committee heard today, three were bipartisan.

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), who represents the Dayton area district where a deadly mass shooting took place last month, has signed onto these three pieces of legislation. Ten people, including the gunman, were killed in a shooting at a popular nightclub in the Oregon neighborhood near Dayton on August 4. And 27 more were injured in the 32 second long shooting spree that ended when police killed the gunman.

This incident has prompted Lehner and other lawmakers, including Congressman Mike Turner (R-Dayton) to take call for action to curb gun violence. 

The Dayton mass shooting was clearly on Lehner's mind as she testified in favor of the three bipartisan bills. She began her testimony by reading off the names of those who were killed in the shooting and describing the horror of what she saw in the hours that followed the incident.

One of the bipartisan bills raises the age for purchasing a firearm from 18 years old to 21 years old. Another strengthens the background check system used when firearms are purchased at gun stores. And the third bipartisan bill allows a judge to issue an order to temporarily take guns away from an owner who is reported to be a danger to themselves or others without the gun owner's knowledge beforehand. 

Lehner, a frequent sponsor of anti-abortion legislation, says this bill will save lives. 

"It's every bit as much pro-life legislation as protecting the unborn from abortion," Lehner says.

The three bipartisan bills do not have the support of many majority Republican lawmakers, including House and Senate leaders.

And those bills are not the ones Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he'd like to see passed by the Ohio Legislature as part of his 17-point gun reform plan. The gun bills backed by DeWine are expected to be introduced soon.

Four other gun bills being heard today as well. They go farther than the bipartisan bills. All of those are sponsored by Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati). 

One bill would ban bump stocks. Another requires background checks on retail gun sales and bans "straw man" sales. The third Democratic bill would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase a firearm. And he's sponsoring a bill that would close what is commonly referred to as the "gun show loophole."

It is doubtful these bills will pass the Ohio Legislature, but Democrats who want to get on board behind stronger gun bills are using this as an opportunity to put that support on record.