Surrounded by dozens of members of the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; State Senators Sandra Williams and Joe Schiavoni announced the introduction of their Red Flag Bill, Wednesday.
The bill seeks to allow the guns of people found to be a danger to themselves or others to be taken away for set periods of time.
The initial seizure would be until a hearing could be held to determine the person’s fitness, up to a maximum of 14 days.
If the judge finds there is evidence the person should not have a gun, they can be prevented from owning or purchasing a gun for up to a year.
The bill allows members of the person’s family or law enforcement to initiate this process if they fear the person could hurt themselves or others by going to the judge for a protective order that would allow for the seizure.
Senators Williams and Schiavoni call the measure a common sense gun law, and say it has the support of Governor Kasich and the NRA.
Governor Kasich has not officially endorsed the bill, and isn’t likely to. It is his policy not to comment on pending legislation, however he did propose six common sense gun measures that came from his bi-partisan working group; Red Flag legislation like this one was one of the six measures proposed.
The support of the NRA could be a little bit of a stretch.
The NRA has fought against Red Flag legislation in well over a dozen states, however recently a spokesman has stated that congress should help states with funding to adopt “risk protection orders.”
The reason the NRA doesn’t like Red Flag legislation is because it, in their opinion, lacks basic due process protections.
The organization has gone on record with what it would take for them to support a Red Flag type of legislation.
Some of the things they are looking for include; criminal penalties for people who bring false or frivolous charges; that the judge’s determination be by “clear and convincing evidence” and that the judge would be required to determine if the person meets the standards for involuntary commitment; and if the protection order is granted, that the person should receive community-based mental health treatment.
Senators Williams and Schiavoni’s bill is not yet available to read in order to see how many of the NRA required elements are present.
Senate President Larry Obhof responded to the introduction of the bill by saying he had not had a chance to read it yet himself, but did say he plans to talk to both lawmakers about their bill.
Obhof went on to say the legislature and Kasich’s Office have a pretty open dialogue about the proposed common sense measures.
Spokesman for Governor Kasich provided this statement in response to the introduction of the Red Flag Bill:
“No matter where you stand on 2nd amendment issues, everyone wants to see a reduction in gun violence. It’s our hope the initiatives proposed by the governor’s bipartisan group of leaders will soon find their way to his desk for his signature.”
The bill would first be heard in the Senate before potentially moving to the House, meanwhile Senator Cecil Thomas’ Bump Stock bill, which has been waiting for hearings for five months now, is expected to get a hearing next week after being moved from the Judiciary Committee to the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
Banning bump stocks is another of the six measures Kasich’s working group proposed as common sense legislation.