COLUMBUS — Ohio would get a "red flag" law and other bipartisan gun law changes embraced by Republican Gov. John Kasich under a bill introduced at the Statehouse on Thursday.
State Rep. Michael Henne, a Dayton-area Republican, introduced legislation containing six changes Kasich recommended last month to Ohio gun and background check laws. The second-term governor pitched it as a palatable package to policymakers of both parties.
"These are just sensible changes that should keep people safer," Henne said.
Kasich’s recommended changes included a so-called "red flag" law that would enable family members, guardians or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence through a new gun violence restraining order. Several other states have embraced such laws.
Additional recommendations that Henne said are included in the bill are: forcing stricter compliance with deadlines and penalties around entering data into the national background check system; prohibiting those under domestic violence protection orders from buying or possessing firearms; and clarifying Ohio’s prohibition on so-called "strawman" third-party gun purchases.
"I’ve vetted this with my friends who are strong gun-rights, 2nd amendment people and they don’t have any problem with these issues," Henne said. "No one should have any objections to this. This is just sensible stuff."
The proposals emerged from a politically diverse advisory panel that Kasich assembled after Las Vegas saw the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in October. He accelerated the group’s work after 17 died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
Among Kasich’s advisers were former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, a tough-on-crime Republican, and Nina Turner, a former Democratic state senator from Cleveland who was a national mouthpiece for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. Turner, whose son is a police officer, also served on Kasich’s commission on improving police-community relations.
Highly divisive issues — such as raising age limits of gun purchases, banning AR-15 assault-type rifles or imposing universal background checks — were absent, presumably because they continued to divide the group.
Kasich also called on Ohio to move quickly to implement measures to ensure timely and accurate compliance with required records reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, to keep guns out of the hands of those with criminal convictions and other prohibited conditions.
Three other recommendations — in the areas of armor-piercing bullets, "strawman" gun purchases and gun restrictions on domestic violence offenders — involved bringing Ohio laws in line with tougher federal standards.
The panel’s final suggestion is that Ohio law be changed to automatically incorporate any future changes to federal gun regulations into state law.