DeWine Gun Reform Proposals Face Skepticism from Legislators of Both Parties

Oct 14, 2019

Gov. Mike DeWine’s package of proposals to reduce gun violence through mental health and gun policy changes is getting mixed reviews. 

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says the so-called STRONG Ohio plan is weak, especially since it doesn’t include required background checks, which DeWine said early on he wanted and which Democrats have been pushing for.

“It makes it much harder for people in our caucus to get behind something that we don’t quite see as legitimate and strong and what people have requested from us,” Sykes said. 

State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), a staunch gun rights advocate, says he was worried there would be mandatory background checks in the bill, but he’s also concerned about this version of a red flag gun seizure law. “You can’t be just taking away people’s property – and a firearm is property – unless there’s a very compelling state interest,” Becker said. 

The bill will start in the Senate, where it’s expected to get a warmer reception and maybe even some changes.

The Governor has said he’s confident the package will be enacted into law, in spite of the chilly reception it's received from both sides.  

DeWine pushed back at Democrats' criticism, saying the plan wasn’t written by the gun lobby. He also defends not including required background checks, which he had called for after the Dayton shooting. 

His bill creates a voluntary program for private gun sellers to check buyers’ backgrounds. DeWine said he had to come up with a bill that would pass the Republican dominated legislature. “I live in the real world, and I’m here to get things done, and I will guarantee Ohioans that when we pass this bill, you will be safer," DeWine said. "I cannot guarantee that we won’t have tragedies. But I can guarantee you that we will be a lot safer.”

DeWine says the red flag gun seizure provision in his proposal protects police along with people’s due process rights while getting them the help they need.