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Potential Ballot Issue Expanding Background Checks For Gun Sales Moved To 2021

Lutsenko Oleksandr/SHUTTERSTOCK

The group that’s hoping to ask voters to expand background checks on gun sales through a potential ballot issue says they're now pushing their initiative by a year. 

The plan from Ohioans for Gun Safety would require a background check for all gun purchases and transfers.

The group's Dennis Willard says moving the initiated statute to 2021 gives them more time to collect signatures and avoid the 2020 presidential and Congressional election.

"We think that 2021 gives us the best opportunity to have a clear and simple and straight forward conversation with Ohio voters that background checks for gun safety will save lives and reduce gun violence," says Willard.

Ohioans for Gun Safety says it had tens of thousands of signatures, they need 132,887 valid signatures to send the proposal language to the Ohio General Assembly. The legislature would have four months to pass a bill that follows the group's proposal. If the legislature does not pass a bill, Ohioans for Gun Safety would have to collect another 132,887 signatures to put it on the ballot.

Willard says the announcement of moving the initiative by a year has not diminished momentum.

"Actually the opposite is true, we told our volunteers about this earlier in the last few days and they have double downed and recommitted to helping us," says Willard. "People are angry, people are upset. They know that this legislature is going in the wrong direction when it comes to gun violence, they want something to happen, they believe the governor's efforts on background checks is woefully short of what is needed."

Gun rights groups have said expanding background checks would not greatly reduce gun violence. Instead they advocate for better reporting into the current system.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.