Gun proponents: background checks an attempt to limit legal gun possession

Prposal could go to ballot statewide

By Tom Corrigan - [email protected]

With their initial petition approved by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, a group known as Ohioans for Gun Safety are combing the state attempting to gather enough signatures to move forward a measure they say eliminates loopholes in state law governing background checks for gun purchases.

Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association Dean Rieck described the measure as a backdoor step towards taking guns out of the hands of lawful gun owners.

“This idea of universal background checks is really not going to have any effect on crime or safety,” Rieck said.

Further, according to Rieck, Ohioans for Gun Safety is not the grassroots group they present themselves as, but part of a national organization known as Every Town for Gun Safety. He added the goal of Every Town for Gun Safety is and always has been to create a registry of gun owners so those guns can eventually be taken away.

“The endgame is confiscating your guns,” Rieck said, admitting his assertion carries a tinge of conspiratorial machinations. But he claimed it can and has happened in other countries, specifically citing what supposedly happened or is happening in New Zealand.

“The Ohio Ballot Board approved our language (in July) and now we are going to start collecting signatures immediately,” said Dennis Willard, spokesperson for Ohioans for Gun Safety.

“The majority of Ohioans support background checks on gun purchases because they’re simple, they work and they reduce gun violence and save lives. We already have a large number of people signed up to volunteer and help collect signatures, and we believe that number will grow in the coming months. We want a safer future for every single Ohioan. Closing loopholes in Ohio’s background check law is a great first step.”

Supporters released the following as a summary of their proposal:

“The Act would enact Section 2923.26 of the Ohio Revised Code to require sales and transfers of firearms in the State of Ohio between persons who are not federally licensed firearms dealers be conducted by a federally licensed firearms dealer and that sales or transfers of firearms between persons who are not federally licensed firearms dealers be conditioned on the person receiving the firearm being subjected to a background check by a federally licensed firearms dealer pursuant to federal law.”

There are numerous exemptions listed to the background check requirement, including such circumstances as firearms given as a gift between family members or temporary transfers to prevent death or physical injury. Rieck argues one highly intrusive requirement is contained in the proposal.

Let’s say, you want to sell an unwanted pistol to a neighbor, someone you might know quite well. Rieck claims under the proposed law, you would need to go through a federally licensed dealer and obtain a background check on your neighbor before you could legally sell the gun.

In late July, supporters released the results of a Quinnipiac University poll purporting to show 90 percent of Ohioans, including 87 percent of gun owners, support background checks for gun safety.

Quinnipiac is a Connecticut university well-known for releasing polls on various national and regional issues.

“This poll confirms what we learned in talking to hundreds of individuals and organizations over the past two years: Ohioans overwhelmingly support common sense background checks for gun safety,” Willard said. “The poll also shows that Democrats and Republicans agree on this issue, as well as gun owners and non gun owners. That’s because background checks work. They are proven to reduce gun violence and save lives. We will continue to aggressively collect signatures to put background checks in front of the state legislature and potentially in front of voters because, as the poll reflects, this is what Ohioans want.”

For his part, Rieck once more argued statistics and common-sense reveal background checks do not reduce crime or increase safety. He said most guns used in crimes are not bought legally. What about the idea of so-called “cooling-off periods,” that is, making someone wait before they purchase a gun and use it in a flash of anger? Rieck said statistics show cooling-off periods don’t really work, adding persons with long criminal histories almost always are behind instances of gun violence. He said the myth of an everyday citizen just grabbing a gun and “going postal” is just that, a myth.

Rieck declined comment on preventing instances of random mass shootings, for the record, saying only “it’s a complex problem.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected a previous version of the ballot language proposed by Ohioans For Gun Safety. In a press release, Yost’s office said the attorney general’s role is to determine whether the petition summary is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law. The revised petition met that requirement, Yost’s office said.

“Without passing on the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure … I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed statute,” Yost said.

Once the summary language and initial signatures become certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the proposal contains a single law or multiple laws. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each proposed law from registered voters in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties equal to 1.5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 3 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.

If the Ohio Secretary of State verifies the signatures, the Ohio General Assembly has four months to act upon the proposed law. If the state assembly does not act, petitioners have an opportunity to gather the same number of signatures in order to place the proposal on the ballot.

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Prposal could go to ballot statewide

By Tom Corrigan

[email protected]

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.