Local gun reform advocates back bills working through Ohio House, Senate

Cropped Photo: Cory Doctorow / CC BY-SA 2.0
Cropped Photo: Cory Doctorow / CC BY-SA 2.0(KOSA)
Published: May. 16, 2018 at 10:14 PM EDT
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After mass shootings in Parkland, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada, some Ohioans are calling for change to the state's gun laws.

"Anything that we can do in any realm to increase safety for our communities, increase safety for our children—it's a positive effect for all of us," said ProMedica nurse Paula Grieb.

Wednesday, leaders in both the Ohio House and Senate held hearings on bills focused on reforming Ohio's laws.

House Bill 585 and Senate Bill 288 are measures both supported by Gov. John Kasich.

"Governor Kasich did a brilliant job of pulling together a diverse group of people to come up with some legislation that is basic, sound and, really, if we can pass this it would put Ohio out at the front," said Mercy Health Dr. Pam Oatis.

Both bills aim to ban things like bump stocks, limit people with mental health issues from having guns and even keep firearms away from violent offenders.

They're ideas that Toledo-area medical and education advocates think take a common sense approach to keeping people safe.

"We're definitely going to be pushing for measures that will provide and allow increased student safety within the buildings, along with establishing common sense gun laws without infringing on people's ultimate rights," said Toledo Federation of Teachers president Kevin Dalton.

While supporters say the focus is on responsible gun ownership, not everyone is on board with the proposed changes.

In a statement to 13abc, a representative from the Buckeye Firearms Association says in part:

"[The bill] seeks to expand the number of Ohioans who cannot legally own firearms by making offences such as gambling or bribery disqualifiers even though they are not violent crimes," said Dean Rieck. "It seeks to repeal entire sections of law that would eliminate any possibility of regaining firearm rights if previously disqualified. It seeks to enact so-called 'extreme risk protection orders' that provide no due process before confiscating personal firearms."

But those in favor say they hope state lawmakers will see the benefit in reform and help save lives in the Buckeye State.

"It's supporting those common sense things that we believe can be done to increase safety while maintaining the individual's rights," said Grieb. "It's a win for both."