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Rep. Joyce Beatty Proposes Gun Restrictions After Student Marches

Joyce Beatty
Rep. Joyce Beatty joins protesters in the March For Our Lives on March 24.

Thousands marched in Columbus and across the country last weekend calling for gun control. Now one Ohio Democrat is hoping to turn that enthusiasm into legislation.

U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty’s "SAFER Now Act" would impose a series of gun control provisions in line with the demands of student organizers.  She says the Columbus March for Our Lives inspired her.

“Watching them refer to their generation as the generation where you have to dodge and duck a bullet, be afraid to go to school, as an adult and a public servant—an elected official—I felt I had to join them," Beatty said. 

The measure, H.R. 5410, includes student policy demands such as banning assault weapons and bump stocks and expanding background checks, as well as new ideas like federal grants for gun buy backs. It would also increase prohibitions on firearm trafficking and close the gun show loophole.

Meanwhile, the Buckeye Firearms Association dismissed Beatty’s bill as election year theater.

“I think they’re being proposed to provide people with talking points in an election year, that’s really all it boils down to,” Executive Director Dean Rieck says, “I don’t think even she thinks it’s going to pass.”

But Beatty pushed back, arguing she’s spent years advocating for gun reform.

“I find it disingenuous for someone to relate the loss of lives to drumming up business for an election,” Beatty says. “I was signing on to gun—common sense gun laws well before we were thinking about the upcoming election.”

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.