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DeWine Proposes Stricter Penalties, Background Checks In Wake Of Shooting

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Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is responding to Sunday's mass shooting in Dayton by urging the GOP-led state Legislature to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales, tougher penalties for violent felons, and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.  

DeWine says the "red flag" law give law enforcement and the courts a tool to confiscate guns, but it also depends on people reporting problems they see.

"Once this passed by the General Assembly,  people know about it... and use it.  Each one of us, certainly anyone who has been as close to law enformcent as I have, can come up with examples of where we had someone who everybody in the town knew had a problem. So what I hope comes out of this is not only that we pass the law, but that people understand that it can be activated."

Former governor John Kasich had also pushed for a "red flag" law but it was defeated over due process concerns.   DeWine says the state needs to carefully balance gun owners rights with societal protections.  Police have said there was nothing in the Dayton shooter's background that would have prevented him from buying a firearm.  

DeWine also suggested that there are other measures that can be taken, including increased social media scrutiny.  He says some ideas date back to his time as Ohio Attorney General.  

"If we, after a tragedy only confine ourselves to doing those things that would have prevented this tragedy, we are missing a real opportunity.  So we need to look at all these tragedies together and quite candidly, we also use this opprotunity to look at other problems that we have that might be somewhat related.  We have an obligation to use this as an oppoortnity to pass things to get things done that might save lives."

Persuading the Legislature to pass such proposals could be an uphill battle. It has given little consideration this session to those and other gun-safety measures already introduced by Democrats.

Tune in to WCBE-FM this afternoon for more details about the Governor's proposals.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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