Two Democratic lawmakers in Ohio introduced legislation into the state house that would mandate universal background checks for gun purchases. The bill would close the so-called gun show loophole, which allows private individuals to sell to other individuals without a background check at gun shows.
In Ohio, all licensed dealers already are required to conduct a background check. This bill would extend the requirement to unlicensed private sellers. The private seller would have to complete the gun transfer at a federally licensed dealer or with law enforcement to conduct the background check.
“To reduce violent crime and deter self-harm, we need to keep guns out of the hands of minors, felons, criminals and domestic abusers,” Rep. Phil Robinson, D-Solon, said in a news release. Robinson sponsored the bill with Rep. Adam Miller, D-Columbus.
“Closing the loophole in the background check process will help end easy access to guns by those who should not have guns and anyone who would sell them firearms,” Robinson said. “This approach not only makes everyday Ohioans safer, but it aides and protects our local law enforcement. For each person that poses a danger with a gun that doesn’t have one after failing a background check, that’s one less crime scene where an officer or civilians could lose their lives. Police officers deserve to feel safe and secure on the job so they can do their jobs and keep our communities safe.”
The bill’s supporters argued that this would not burden potential gun purchasers because every Ohioan lives within 10 minutes of a dealer.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine also proposed expanding background checks in a speech he gave after the mass shooting in Dayton last weekend. DeWine included several other provisions, including red-flag style laws, stricter penalties for violating gun laws and social media monitoring.
Republican lawmakers have not yet indicated whether they will support DeWine’s proposals, but they had opposed similar gun law initiatives in the past when former Gov. John Kasich proposed them. Some of these proposals have also received criticism from pro-gun groups.