© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DeWine's Gun Violence Bill Sparks Questions At First Hearing

Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) testifies for S.B. 221, the STRONG Ohio gun violence plan.
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio
Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) testifies for S.B. 221, the STRONG Ohio gun violence plan.

Democratic state senators had lots of questions for the sponsor of Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed gun violence bill at its first hearing.

They wanted details about the private gun sales background check system it creates as well as the version of the red flag gun seizure law it includes.

Democrats on the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee fired various scenarios at sponsor state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and asked why the bill doesn’t include mandatory background checks or a stronger red flag law. DeWine had initially called for lawmakers to pass required background checks after the mass shooting in Dayton in August.

Dolan told them the "STRONG Ohio" bill will reduce gun violence, and therefore does something – as activists have called for.

“If we are going to stop simply because it does not have everything you want, and therefore nothing is better than something, we will fail the people of Ohio," Dolan said.

Dolan says the bill will "thread the needle" between protecting the due process rights of gun owners while restricting the rights of those who shouldn’t have guns because they’re considered dangerous to others or themselves.

The bill will have several more hearings, including opportunities for opponents to testify. It has two co-sponsors, both Republicans: state Sens. Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering).

Lehner testified at the same committee before Dolan did, on the two bills she's sponsoring with state Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), which ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines and seek to close the "gun show loophole."

While DeWine and Dolan are confident the "STRONG Ohio" bill will pass, some Republican lawmakers have expressed reservations, and many Democrats want it to go further than it does.