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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley: DeWine’s Gun Violence Package "An Important Start"

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined Gov. Mike DeWine for the unveiling of his STRONG Ohio bill.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined Gov. Mike DeWine for the unveiling of his STRONG Ohio bill.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is reacting to Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed changes to state gun laws. The governor unveiled details of his so-called STRONG Ohio bill Monday afternoon in Columbus.

Among the bill's proposed changes are voluntary measures allowing private gun buyers and sellers to request proof of background checks. The proposal would also expand the criteria used to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves or others. 

Speaking at DeWine’s announcement event, Whaley called the STRONG Ohio plan a good first step.

"I've made it clear to Gov. DeWine that I think there are things in the bill that could go a bit further and I know this bill does not go far enough to end gun violence in our communities. But this is an important start," she says. "This is the first time in my career that I have witnessed our state government seriously consider restrictions on access to guns instead of allowing more dangerous weapons in our communities."

The Republican DeWine’s plan does not include universal background checks or a so-called ‘‘red flag’’ law he outlined after the Oregon District mass shooting.

Many Ohio gun-rights groups oppose such “red flag" laws allowing courts to confiscate weapons from someone deemed a threat.

Speaker Larry Householder has also expressed reservations about the gun seizure idea, saying he’s concerned about, "due process rights of gun owners but also about giving a “heads up” to those who might be dangerous," as the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau reports.

“When I unveiled our overall STRONG Ohio plan in August, I committed that any legislation must be constitutional, must make a significant impact on the safety of Ohioans, and must be able to pass in the Ohio General Assembly,” DeWine says. “Over the past two months, we have met with legislators, second-amendment groups, law enforcement, mayors, the behavioral health community, and many others to ensure our bill achieves these goals. We heard their concerns, and I believe that we have come up with better legislation as a result.”

DeWine's plan would:

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.

Read more about the governor's latest proposal at the Statehouse News Bureau.

Copyright 2019 WYSO

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.