Will 2019 Bring Gun Reform in Congress?

Will 2019 Bring Gun Reform in Congress?
(Brett Hondow/Pixabay)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohioans in favor of stronger gun laws are optimistic the new Congress will move swiftly to pass new universal background-check legislation.

HR 8 and S. 42 were introduced last week and would expand federal background checks to all gun sales, including private sales.

As founder of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, Toby Hoover contends the measures are long overdue.

"All these secondary sales are perfectly legal right now," she points out. "You know, I could go ahead and sell you a gun on a street corner right now and I don't have to do any kind of checks.

"I think the will is there and the country is ready to do something to make this carnage stop."

Opponents argue that both bills go too far, and essentially make it a crime to hand a firearm to another person.

While supporters say background checks will keep lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, opponents counter that research is inconclusive on the effectiveness of background checks.

Also last week, more than two dozen senators co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, (S. 66), which would ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Hoover says the measure would expand upon a past assault-weapons ban that was in effect for 10 years but not renewed.

"They didn't really let it go into law as it should have been to start with," she stresses. "And when we see people using these kind of weapons to mow down children in classrooms, I think it's time we all step back and say, 'Some of these things have to be controlled.'"

At the state level, Hoover says gun-control groups are keeping an eye out for new Stand Your Ground legislation that would remove the legal requirement to retreat before using deadly force.

The measure was removed from a bill late last year, but there are concerns it could appear again at the Statehouse.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by The George Gund Foundation.