COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine’s 17-point plan for new controls on guns and new mental health resources must go through the Ohio House and the Senate, both of which are controlled by his fellow Republicans, but one Democratic lawmaker said he has been pushing for common-sense gun laws for years.
Sen. Cecil Thomas is a former Cincinnati police officer and he believes it is past time for a change.
“It’s been long overdue,” Thomas said.
He proposed comprehensive universal background checks more than three years ago and has introduced measures that would close loopholes for gun shows and private sales.
“Law enforcement and anyone else in the legal system understands that a lot of guns, a whole lot of guns get to our streets through loopholes in the gun shows,” he said. “We gotta stop that.”
Thomas would also like to see an end to internet sales of semi-automatic weapons but made it clear that the measures he supports aren’t about taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.
“I have plenty of guns, I’m a former law enforcement officer,” he said. “If you’re a good guy with a gun, you should have no problem with a background check, whether it takes three days or 10 days, as long as it’s about safety, about citizens and stopping some of this madness.”
Thomas believes that DeWine’s plan is a good first step, but he isn’t optimistic that the General Assembly will be able to pass any meaningful legislation.
“It’s going to get bogged down in the legislature and again, as always, you’re going to have the bickering as to what it is and there are some outside influences that impact legislators,” he said, predicting that droves of NRA and gun industry lobbyists would be fighting against the proposed measures.
“It makes no sense if 80-90% of the people of the state of Ohio want universal background checks, why would you be concerned about what your NRA thinks?” he asked. “If you’re a legislator, you better be worried about the people that put you in office, not the people who gave you the money to get in there.”