State senators team up to introduce gun reform legislation

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COLUMBUS (WDTN) – State senators from the Dayton-area and Cincinnati-area teamed up to reintroduce two bipartisan bills at the Ohio Senate on gun reform legislation in the aftermath of the Oregon District mass shooting.

Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale) reintroduced bills, one that would require universal background checks and the other raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21.

“The Dayton tragedy has brought us all closer together and through our sorrow, we are determined to curb senseless gun violence,” Thomas said. “These bills are common sense and widely supported. Most importantly, they make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.  I’m glad to have Senator Lehner’s support as we work to pass meaningful gun reforms that will save lives.”

Both bills were originally introduced by Thomas earlier in the year without Republican support. However, in the wake of the Oregon District mass shooting, Lehner expressed interest in reintroducing it as a co-sponsor. Lehner is also co-sponsoring a red-flag legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose an imminent danger to themselves or others, sponsored by Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland).

“We might never know how many tragedies will be averted by this legislation but I have no doubt that these bills will save lives,” said Senator Lehner. “Whether it will be on a school playground, in a church where we gather to pray, or in a crowded entertainment district, this legislation will keep a gun out of the hands of someone intent on evil.  The time for this legislation is long overdue and I pray that this legislature honors those whose lives have already been taken by passing it swiftly.”    

The new background check legislation is modeled after Thomas’ Senate Bill 63 and would require all firearm transactions to be processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at the point of transfer.

Additionally, the lawmakers are introducing a redrafted version of SB 64 to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 and increase the penalties for improperly providing a firearm to a minor.

Under current law, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun, but 18-year-olds can purchase long guns. The bill would keep the current law’s exemptions for members of the military and law enforcement.

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