Related: Ohioans may vote on gun background checks
Willard said the campaign plans to eventually hire paid petition circulators and it is in talks with national gun control groups about possible funding. The effort is endorsed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and has enlisted volunteers from Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group.
Polls in Ohio and across the nation show more than nine out of 10 Americans favor universal background checks for gun purchases. Currently, background checks are required for purchases made through federally licensed firearms dealers.
After the Oregon District mass shooting on Aug. 4, Gov. Mike DeWine said “I’m asking the General Assembly to pass a law that requires background checks for all firearms sales in the state of Ohio, with the exception of gifts between family members and certain other limited uses.”
Three months later, the Republican governor called for a system to let people voluntarily run a background check before they sell firearms to someone in a private party deal. He also wants to mandate more timely, complete information be sent to existing background databases so that people who cannot lawfully buy a gun aren’t able to clear a background check.
Related: Gov. DeWine outlines plan to tackle gun violence
His proposals, which are pending in the Ohio Senate, have gotten a lukewarm reception from some legislative leaders and forceful opposition from gun rights groups such as Ohio Gun Owners.
Related: Ohio lawmakers want 'Stand Your Ground' law