Tightening background checks for gun buyers and allowing “red flag” protection orders were among six gun violence policy recommendations made Thursday by a bipartisan panel assembled by Gov. John Kasich.
The proposals received mixed reviews from local Second Amendment enthusiasts, including Don Davis, owner of Dead Eye Dons gun shop in Lucasville.
Kasich said he hopes the recommendations pass the General Assembly as a package.
The suggested policy changes include, among other proposals, a so-called “red flag” law, which would allow friends and family members to petition a court to remove firearms from persons believed to pose a threat to themselves or others. A handful of states, including Indiana, already have passed such laws, and, according to Davis, President Trump recently proposed a similar rule at the federal level. Davis claimed he is a big supporter of the president, but also claimed he became almost physically ill upon hearing Trump’s comments.
“There has to be due process,” Davis said, comparing “red flag” rules to laws he said existed in the 1950s, which supposedly allowed husbands to arbitrarily have their wives committed to mental facilities.
Kasich’s proposals also recommended strengthening background checks, specifically stating the need to enforce requirements that courts submit conviction information to the state’s background check database in a timely manner. To Davis, the timely manner portion of that statement might be the most important. Davis said he fully supports the idea of background checks, but also argued various reporting parties are often lax in getting pertinent information into the system.
Portsmouth’s Randy Rucker said he is a benefactor-level member of the National Rifle Association. One of Kasich’s proposals talks about tightening rules around so-called “strawman” gun sales in which someone buys a gun for someone else. Rucker said there are already rules barring those types of sales. While it was not one of the governor’s proposals, Rucker also spoke out against increasing the legal age for buying certain weapons from 18 to 21. He said at age 18 persons are old enough to legally join the military, serve their country and, obviously, be trusted with weapons.
An official local spokesperson for the NRA could not be reached for comment in time for this story. The owner of Gleim’s Firearms and Ammo in Wheelersburg, another prominent local gun store, also did not return a phone call.
Davis went on to say the problem with all gun control legislation is that once it starts, it might not stop. “It becomes a slippery slope,” he said.
In addition to the proposals already mentioned, Kasich also talked about banning armor-piercing ammunition, making Ohio law mirror federal law. He also suggested Ohio automatically ban so-called bump stocks if the federal government decides to ban them. According to Davis, bump stocks, which allow rapid firing of weapons, are more of a novelty than anything else, and not an item he stocks in his shop. With that in mind, he said he had no objection to any ban on the items.
Officials note Kasich’s proposals arrive in the wake of the well-publicized school shootings in Florida recently. For his part, Davis said gun control will not solve school shooting problems. He said such incidents have become an unfortunate fact of life, and he supports arming teachers willing to be armed and willing to take firearms training. Davis noted that his wife is a schoolteacher, and also supports the idea of arming instructors. At the very least, Davis said schools need to have well-armed security guards. In emergencies, he added, seconds count, and police and other safety forces just might not be able to arrive in time.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931