Two months after a deadly mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District, Gov. Mike DeWine today, Monday Oct. 7, will detail his legislative plans to curb gun violence and make a pitch to state lawmakers that his proposals will be effective and constitutional.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and other “elected officials and leaders from across Ohio” are scheduled to join him for the announcement at the Ohio Department of Public Safety headquarters.
Days after the Aug. 4 shooting in which nine people were killed and the shooter also died, Daytonians shouted “Do Something” at DeWine during a downtown vigil for the victims. DeWine said he heard those chants and is going to take action.
The Greene County Republican laid out broad plans for improved access to mental health treatment, fixing the existing gun purchase background check system and expanding it, and passing a safety protection order law — often called a ‘Red Flag Law’ — to allow police or family members to get a court order to seize firearms from someone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
On Monday, DeWine is expected to detail how those plans will operate and how they will effectively keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.
Gun rights groups generally oppose expanded background checks and red flag laws, arguing that they are ineffective and unconstitutional.
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence Founder Toby Hoover said stronger background checks will save lives and expanded access to mental health treatment is a much needed step.
But she cautioned the DeWine administration against “the overemphasis on extending criminal penalties, allowing those deemed possibly suicidal or homicidal to keep their guns until hearings three days later, and mandatory institutionalization that further stigmatizes mental illness.”
If DeWine gets even a few of his proposals approved by the Ohio General Assembly, it will be a victory for gun control advocates. For the past 20 years, Ohio legislators have moved to expand gun rights, not restrict them.
Even before the Dayton shooting, DeWine had been working to craft a red flag law that would be acceptable to Ohio lawmakers.
So far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have adopted such laws. Generally, they allow police or family members to seek a court order to seize weapons from someone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others and then allow the gun owner to be heard in court days or weeks after the seizure. But many gun rights groups believe this does not afford the gun owner due process because his weapons are seized before he has a chance to go to court.
Currently, there are more than 20 gun bills pending in the Ohio Legislature.
The governor is also expected to detail plans for freeing up beds in Ohio’s six state psychiatric hospitals so that space is available for dangerous, violent patients who need to be in a lockdown facility.
On any given day, about 97% of the state’s 1,065 beds in its six psychiatric hospitals are occupied, including hundreds of beds taken by people being restored to competency so they can face misdemeanor non-violent criminal charges.
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