COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On the heels of the past weekend’s March for our Lives events State Senator Cecil Thomas stood surrounded by supporters as he announced the introduction of four additional pieces of legislation he and State Senator Joe Schiavoni are calling common sense gun bills.
The first piece of legislation announced by the lawmakers would implement universal background checks to require all firearm transactions to be processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at the point of transfer.
The second bill would raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21. Under current law, an individual must be 21 to buy a handgun, but 18-year-olds are able to purchase firearms. It would preserve the current law’s exemptions for members of the military and law enforcement.
The third bill would require all firearms acquired from licensed dealers or private sellers, as well as through transfer or gift, to be registered with local law enforcement within five days of the transaction. The bill aims to aid law enforcement in their efforts to trace potentially illegal or stolen guns found at crime scenes. It would exempt law enforcement officers and wouldn’t apply under certain circumstances, including self-defense and travel.
The final piece of legislation would close the so-called gun show loophole and require background checks for private sellers at the time of sale. The bill also requires that vendors and promoters obtain a permit and that they take certain safety measures, like securing the parking lot surrounding the sale and checking individuals’ ages at the door of the event.
Thomas introduced a bill that would ban bump stocks back in October, right after the massacre in Las Vegas. The bill has yet to have a hearing, but has recently been moved to a new committee; the chairman of that committee says he is prepared to give the bill its hearings.
Recently movement on the federal government front on the matter of bump stocks gives Thomas hope that the delays have finally ended and his legislation may be heard. All of this comes at a time when the groundswell for “common sense” gun legislation is high.
Students marched through the streets of major cities this weekend. Thomas says he hears them loud and clear and only hopes that his friends on the other side of the aisle do as well. Lawmakers are off for Easter break and will return to the statehouse in two weeks.