DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine arrived at the scene of the Oregon District shooting less than 24 hours after the gunman opened fire. As he spoke to the crowd later that night, people chanted for the governor to “Do Something” to stop future tragedies.
A few months after the shooting, Governor DeWine introduced the Strong Ohio bill that would enhance state and federal background check systems, among other things. That bill has yet to pass.
The governor says a pilot project set to begin in the next several weeks in 10 Ohio counties, including Montgomery, will automatically enter an individual’s criminal history into a database with the hopes of preventing that individual from purchasing a firearm. He also says more mental health funds have been made available to schools in order to better identify those who may be suffering from a mental health issue.
“As long as I’m governor, we’re going to continue to push for this,” DeWine said. “I’ve done everything I can without the legislature. Now it’s time to work with the legislature, for them to work with me, and to see what we can do to get a bill passed.”
He urges Ohioans to contact members of the legislature and voice their support for passing his proposals, adding that his points are reasonable and would impact “problems we see all the time” including mental health and substance abuse counseling services.
The governor has declined to support red flag laws in Ohio that would remove guns from those who are deemed dangerous, instead discussing a pink slip system which would place mentally ill Ohioans in the hospital for up to 72 hours. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has called this system “more extreme,” saying it takes away the person rather than taking away the guns.
“We’re trying to get something passed that will save lives. I think that’s what people expect me to do. We’ve come up with a bill that, frankly, we think is better. It’s more comprehensive than the current law and more comprehensive than what has been proposed and what is being done in some other states,” said DeWine, who believes that red flag laws do not help an individual get the mental health support they may need.
DeWine says he plans to sit down with the new House Speaker, Rep. Bob Cupp, and the Senate President to discuss a path forward.
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