The Ohio House speaker on Wednesday indicated willingness to consider gun measures and back additional funds for school safety, as Gov. John Kasich could roll out proposals to lawmakers by the end of the week.
Kasich has been meeting privately with a hand-selected group on both sides of the gun issue.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, said he expects a bill to be introduced within the next few days providing additional state funding for school resources officers and other school-safety measures.
"Clearly right now we need to take a little bit of an opportunity to review a whole gamut of things dealing with this policy. What we're going to do is take a step back and look at the thing holistically of areas that we need to address," he said.
Rosenberger said he does not expect that to include a ban on semi-automatic, military-style rifles that some refer to as "assault" weapons.
"Of course, our priority is going to continue to be, as a caucus, to uphold and protect the Second Amendment in Ohio," he said. "I think there are areas in which we can have a fair and open conversation."
That includes mental health issues, and conforming with federal law, Rosenberger said. "It's going to be hard to legislate personal behavior. We need to make sure we're doing everything possible to make it tough for those that want to do something bad, and that could be a wide variety of things."
Rosenberger said the House could definitely have a discussion about limiting high-capacity magazines and banning bump stocks — an attachment that can turn certain rifles automatic.
Six states have imposed "red flag" policies to help keep guns away from those identified as potentially posing a risk to themselves or others. Rosenberger said the idea is not off the table.
Statehouse gun legislation in the last decade has focused almost exclusively on relaxing restrictions on guns in Ohio.
In a letter to Kasich, three Columbus elected officials wrote that they would "lead boldly and without reservation to reduce gun violence. We urge you to join us." The letter is signed by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Council President Shannon G. Hardin and city Attorney Zach Klein.
Those officials wrote that certain policies are needed that can balance safety with "honoring our Second Amendment rights." Those include required background checks for every gun sale in Ohio; "military-style assault weapons" being reserved for the military; preventing those convicted of domestic violence from legally possessing guns; and keeping guns from people subject to domestic violence and stalking orders for the duration of those orders, among others.
They also called on the state legislature to "restore the rights of cities to enact common sense weapons regulations to reduce gun violence in our community."
Last year, about 80 percent of the 143 homicides in Columbus were attributable to gun violence, according to the letter.
Jim Siegel and Rick Rouan are reporters with the Columbus Dispatch.