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Ohio Gov. DeWine Backs Off His Own Gun Control Proposals

— October 10, 2019

DeWine had pushed for red flag laws and mandatory background checks after an August shooting in Dayton left 10 dead and 27 injured.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is stepping back from a series of gun control proposals he himself rolled out.

According to USA Today, DeWine, a Republican, won’t ask the conservative-controlled state legislature to implement a ‘red flag’ law or make background checks mandatory for private firearm sales.

Red flag laws are meant to keep guns, at least temporarily, out of the hands of potentially dangerous people. They give courts the power to issue special protection orders, which in turn authorize police to confiscate firearms from anyone a judge deems to be a danger to themselves or others.

Requests to curtail an individual’s firearms access often comes from relatives and friends. How long police can keep a gun depends on a variety of circumstances—but the duration specified in a court order can usually be extended only by another judge.

DeWine, notes USA Today, pressed for red flag reform. He suggested it two months ago, after a mass shooting in Dayton, OH, left 10 people dead and another 27 injured.

The entrance to the Ned Peppers bar in Dayton, where a gunman opened fire on 4 August, 2019. Image via Flickr/user:becks271. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Since the shooting, DeWine’s been outspoken for better gun control. As late as last week, the governor was insisting that he wouldn’t cave to political pressure. But he began his retreat Monday, announcing he’d support legislation likely to attract not just bipartisan backing but approval from Second Amendment enthusiasts.

Ohio’s happy medium, then, would let Buckeye State residents keep their guns—rather than being flagged and having their firearms yanked, dangerous Ohioans will simply be locked up.

“This is something that we believe can pass, will pass and will make a big difference,” DeWine said.

DeWine is now proposing an extension of Ohio’s “pink slip” system, which places mentally ill, potentially homicidal Ohioans in hospitals for up to 72 hours. If DeWine gets his way—or at least, what’s been his way for the past several days—persons suffering from chronic alcoholism and drug dependency could also receive pink slips.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the system seems a little convoluted.

“It is actually more extreme, frankly, than a red flag law,” Whaley said. “They’re taking the person away for 72 hours rather than just taking the gun.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who helped craft the bill, said red flag laws may be untenable because red flag laws could violate affected individuals’ due process rights. And waiting for a hearing could put police and potential victims in danger.

“Removing the gun,” said Halsted, “does not mean you’ve helped the person or kept others safe.”

The solution, proposed by Halstead and DeWine, is thus to let dangerous people keep their guns, so long as they can last three days in an asylum.

Emilia Sykes, the Ohio House’s top Democrat, admitted it’s difficult to pass significant firearm reform in the current political climate. Nevertheless, she said residents angered by the Dayton shooting wanted more than a few mild changes.

“When the people told the governor to do something,” Sykes said, “they didn’t mean to do just anything.”


DeWine drops ‘red-flag’ law, mandatory universal background checks from gun plan

Ohio governor decides against ‘red flag’ law, proposes optional private sale background checks

What Are ‘Red Flag’ Gun Laws, and How Do They Work?

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