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Ohio Democrats Try Again To Propose Assault Weapons Ban

Lisa Marie Pane
AR-15 style rifles made by Battle Rifle Co., a gunmaker in Webster, Texas, are on display in its retail shop.

Democratic state lawmakers are trying again to pass an assault weapons ban in Ohio, and say they think an apparent change of heart by Gov. John Kasich announced over the weekend might help the bill this time.

Sens. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced SB 260on Tuesday, which would make it a fifth-degree felony to possess or acquire a firearm considered an "assault weapon."

That includes any automatic or semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine with the capacity to accept 10 or more cartridges. It also includes any semi-automatic firearm with a fixed magazine that can accept 10 cartridges or more.

The pair also proposed an assault weapons ban five years ago, but it went nowhere in the Republican-led legislature. Even though Democrats are still deep in the minority, Skindell said the time is right to try it again. 

“Many times legislation takes a while to pass, but with the recent events and Gov. Kasich’s comments, hopefully the effort is boosted,” Skindell said.

SB 260 also requires the Ohio Attorney General to prepare for the establishment and operation of a "firearm and ammunition transactions database," which would be run by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Kasich said this weekend he’d like to see some changes in gun regulations but he has no confidence in Congress, so those would have to happen at the state and local level – though in the last few years the bills that the legislature has passed have expanded gun rights.

Other Democratic bills to ban imitation guns and toughen background checks have gotten one hear – a ban on so-called bump stocks has yet to be heard.