Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, speaks alongside Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, right, during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.

New gun laws may not prevent future mass shootings, but lawmakers can pass legislation that will save lives, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a forum Wednesday evening.

“We can’t ever guarantee that this will never happen again, but what we can do is do things that we know will matter, things that will save lives, things that will make us safer,” DeWine said during the “Mass Shootings: Solutions for a Safer Community” forum sponsored by Cox Media Group Ohio.

Following an Aug. 4 mass shooting in Dayton, DeWine announced his STRONG Ohio initiative, a 17-point series of recommendations aimed at curtailing gun violence in the Buckeye State.

“I would like for them to act on that package as a package, because all the things that we have presented are constitutional,” DeWine said. “All the things we have presented will make a difference. All of them, I think, can be passed by this Legislature.”

The plan ranges from expanded background checks to a safety protection law, often called a “red flag” law, that allows authorities to seize guns temporarily from someone they believe may be a threat to themselves or others. But, DeWine said Ohio’s proposed law differs from laws in other states because it includes stronger due process protections.

“As governor, I have an obligation to present to the General Assembly a bill that is constitutional, a bill that will make a difference, and a bill that’s got a good shot at getting passed, and we’re going to do that,” DeWine said.

Last month, DeWine issued an executive order to create the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC), a new division that will monitor for threats of violence at schools across Ohio. The governor also called on lawmakers to mandate that courts enter final domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault protection orders into state and national databases within 48 hours of their issuance.

DeWine also wants background checks “for all firearms sales in the state of Ohio with certain limited, reasonable exceptions, including gifts between family members.”

“From the state’s perspective and federal, there are opportunities to close these loopholes on background checks, and it’s something that is very, very popular,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said during the forum.

“There’s not many things in Ohio where nine out of 10 Ohioans agree,” Whaley added. “I don’t even think they all agree on the Ohio State Buckeyes, which is kind of a miracle. I don’t think we can get nine out of 10 there, but we can get nine out of 10 on background checks. So, we just need the Legislature to do this common-sense action.”

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said authorities need to be proactive to take action before a mass shooting happens.

“We need to know as much as we can about individuals who represent a potential threat,” Biehl said.

“Gaps in records is not helpful,” the chief added. “Having individuals who are not subject to a thorough background check isn’t helpful. It creates vulnerability. Every one of those gaps breeds a vulnerability, another potentiality that this can happen again.”

The Center Square Contributor