Ohio leaders must focus on productive gun bills


Toledo Blade: The Ohio Republican majority in the statehouse returned from the election recess determined to focus on the business sought by the Buckeye Firearms Association rather than the work needed to improve safety from dangerous or unhinged people armed with warlike weapons.

The House quickly passed the Stand Your Ground Bill, which gives additional protections under state law for individuals who use deadly force in self-defense.

State law already provides adequately for people to use deadly force to defend themselves. The new law, if finally enacted, would eliminate incentives now in place that encourage people to de-escalate dangerous situations without violence.

It’s unfortunate that more pressing and deserving gun-related legislation remains untouched by the General Assembly.

Just since Nov. 14 when the House voted to approve Stand Your Ground, there have been four incidents around the country defined as mass shootings by the GunViolenceArchive. The same day that the House Republicans passed Stand Your Ground, three people were killed by a shooter in Baton Rouge.

In all, 12 people died, and at least nine were injured. The most recent was Monday at Chicago Mercy Hospital, in which a man shot and killed a police officer, an emergency room doctor, and a pharmacy resident, as well as the shooter. Police said Dr. Tamara O’Neal, one of the victims, had ended an engagement with the shooter.

KASICH’S PRIORITIES

Gov. John Kasich has urged lawmakers to pass provisions that, among other things, would establish a “red flag” process to proactively take a gun from someone deemed a danger to himself or others, prohibit sales of armor-piercing ammunition, and block third-party “straw man” sales by which someone buys a gun for someone else legally prohibited from owning one.

In some instances, these rules would have prevented mass shootings.

Mr. Kasich has said he won’t sign the Stand Your Ground bill, but both the House and Senate have veto-proof majorities, which could give the bill enough votes to pass anyway.

If Ohio doesn’t have the will to attempt to restrict the sales of semi-automatic guns or rifles, Ohio should enact what barriers it can around the sales of these weapons.

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