COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio lawmakers opened debate on a series of gun reform proposals Tuesday at the Statehouse.
The bills, which have bipartisan sponsors, would expand background checks for most firearm purchases and create a “red flag” law aimed at keeping guns from people viewed as threats to themselves and others
Sen. Cecil Thomas, a Cincinnati Democrat and member of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee, said in an interview with Associated Press before Tuesday’s hearing in Columbus that there’s little appetite in the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass substantive guns laws.
Thomas said Republicans likely agreed to Tuesday’s hearing because of the mass shooting in Dayton in August that killed nine people.
The shooting prompted Sen. Peggy Lehner, a Dayton-area Republican, to become a co-sponsor for legislation on background checks, the red-flag law and increasing the age for firearm purchases to 21.
“Can I guarantee that the passage of any of the measures that you will hear about…will save a life? No,” Lehner told members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. “But I do know this much – doing absolutely nothing is simply not an option.”
Laura Robertson-Boyd, a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, said the hearings are a sign that legislators are listening to the majority of Ohioans.
“Common sense gun measures have broad bi-partisan support across all Ohioans,” Robertson-Boyd said. “We are ready for our lawmakers to do something.”
Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, said gun owners are prepared to fight against the proposals.
“Gun owners are going to be absolutely mobilized, organized in their opposition to this stuff and fighting tooth and nail all along the way during the legislative process,” Dorr said.