Gov. DeWine Calls for Expanded Background Checks, 'Red Flag' Law in Wake of Dayton Mass Shooting

click to enlarge Governor Mike DeWine -
Governor Mike DeWine
In the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed nine people and wounded dozens of others, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine yesterday called for new efforts to reduce the risk of a future massacre.

The core of DeWine's proposals — which do not include walking back support for eliminating licensing requirements for concealed carry of firearms — would be a so-called "red flag" law that would seize firearms from those determined to be a danger to themselves or other people via court order.

DeWine's plan would also close the "gun show" loophole in Ohio's background check laws, requiring such checks for any firearm transfer that isn't a gift between family members. It would also seek to increase legal penalties for illegal gun possession, use of a firearm in violent crimes and selling guns to minors and others illegally.

In addition, DeWine wants better mental health interventions for young people who show signs they may become violent and better monitoring via personnel and software of social media, where some shooters have posted early clues about their deadly intentions.

There would be due process provisions in the red flag law he's proposing, DeWine said. Under his proposal, a court could order seizure of a weapon upon convincing evidence its owner was dangerous. There would be a hearing within three days to decide whether the person should forfeit their firearm immediately and a followup hearing after two weeks. Mental health screenings and treatment could be ordered if necessary. A person could file to get their weapons back after three months if they can prove they aren't dangerous.

“If we do these things, it will matter," DeWine said at a news conference announcing the proposals. "If we do these things, it will make us safer."

A previous "red flag" law by Ohio Gov. John Kasich failed because Republicans in the state legislature said it did not contain enough due process provisions. It is unclear if DeWine's version could gain enough support from staunch conservatives in the General Assembly to pass.

At a news conference yesterday, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley called DeWine's proposals "a good step." Whaley, a Democrat, said she also supported a ban on assault-style weapons like the one used by shooter Connor Betts during the early Sunday morning shooting in the city's Oregon District. Betts also used a 100-round magazine during the roughly 60 seconds of shooting — an item many Democrats say should be banned.

President Donald Trump has called for a national red flag law following a spate of mass shootings recently. The president will visit Dayton today.
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