On March 1, 2018, Governor John R. Kasich offered the Ohio General Assembly recommendations to help reduce gun violence. A group of leaders from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of views came together to search for common ground on such policies. The Catholic Conference of Ohio participated in this process.Through this process, the group reached unanimous agreement on several proposals.
A Sensible, Consensus Approach to Protecting Ohioans from Gun Violence
Office of the Governor
In November 2017, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced that he had asked a group of leaders from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of views to come together and search for common ground on policies to help protect Ohioans from gun violence. Through this process the group reached unanimous agreement on the following proposals:
New Legal Protections to Keep Firearms From Potentially Dangerous People: Ohio should create a new gun violence protection order (GVPO) similar to those enacted in five other states. GVPOs would allow certain people defined by law (perhaps law enforcement officers or members of someone’s family) to petition a court to require a person to temporarily relinquish their firearms if it is determined by a clear and convincing evidentiary standard that they are a threat to themselves or others. Such orders would give courts the ability to consider more generalized risks of violence than are normally factors for personal protection orders, while protecting an individual’s right to due process. The Ohio State Highway Patrol would serve as the custodian of any relinquished firearms that a local law enforcement agency chooses not to take into temporary custody.
Keep Firearms from Domestic Violence Offenders and Other Prohibited People: Ohio law should be updated to mirror federal law with an automatic prohibition preventing anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence protection order, as well as others prohibited under federal law, from buying or possessing a firearm. Putting this provision into state law makes it possible for law enforcement officers in Ohio to pursue charges on an issue that might not be pursued by federal officials.
Closing Gaps in the Background Check System: Background checks of firearm purchasers are only as complete and accurate as the information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In Ohio, clerks of court are responsible for reporting conviction and sentencing records every seven days so that they can be uploaded to the system. Additional criminal and mental health records originate from other courts and local law enforcement agencies. Too often, those entrusted with the timely and accurate reporting of this information go weeks or months without reporting a single record – and Ohio law lacks any mechanism to force their compliance. Ohio should, as quickly as possible, move to implement measures to ensure timely and accurate reporting compliance from all relevant agencies, as well as to work with them to eliminate any barriers to compliance that exist.
Strengthening Ohio’s Prohibitions Against "Strawman" Purchases: Ohio law should be updated to mirror federal law and specifically prohibit purchases of firearms for third parties (except as a gift), even if the third party is legally allowed to buy or own a firearm. Current Ohio law only prohibits such "strawman" purchases if the firearm purchaser should have known that the third party is prohibited from buying or owning a gun under Ohio law, but lacks an outright prohibition on such sales. Putting federal provisions into state law makes it possible for law enforcement officers in Ohio to pursue charges on an issue that might not be pursued by federal officials.
Prohibiting the Sale of Armor-Piercing Ammunition: Armor-piercing ammunition is just one more potential threat to law enforcement officers who often already face heavily armed criminals. Ohio law should be updated to ban armor-piercing ammunition, modeled after the definitions in federal law, so that law enforcement officers in Ohio can pursue charges on an issue that might not be pursued by federal officials.
Enact Prohibitions Against Bump Stocks and Other Accessories That Mirror Federal Law: The President has instructed the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to review whether "bump stocks" or other firearm accessories that can essentially convert a semi-automatic into a fully automatic machine gun should be regulated at the federal level. Ohio law should be changed to automatically incorporate into our laws any such future federal regulations.