What Ohio's Governor Candidates Say About Gun Control

Feb 22, 2018

Following the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school, Ohio's candidates for governor are coming out to declare their stances on gun control and Second Amendment rights.

More than one candidate has proposed banning or limiting assault-style weapons in Ohio. 

Bill O’Neill, a former Ohio Supreme Court justice, said his plan for a mandatory permitting process balances the regulatory rights of states with individuals' right to bear arms, in a statement released Wednesday.

Failure to renew the permit would result in a third-degree felony. Certain criminal charges such as domestic violence, assault and alcohol-related offenses would require police to invoke an owner’s permit for one year, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Reinstatement of permits would require new background checks.

Dennis Kucinich went a step further and called for a statewide ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines this week. The former U.S. Representative says public opinion about high-powered weapons is shifting following the Parkland shooting.

 

“Without regard to who's in the legislature, without regard as to who controls the legislature, banning assault weapons will be a major issue in the 2018 election, whether it's a Democrat or a Republican,” he said.

Another leading Democratic candidate, Richard Cordray, proposed universal background checks, a crackdown on illegal gun purchases and a ban on bump stocks while speaking at a law enforcement event on Tuesday. Cordray had previously earned top ratings from the NRA and state gun groups.

During his speech, Cordray said the issue of gun violence needs to be addressed in a bipartisan way with background checks, mental health treatment and measures to crack down on illegal gun sales.

 

“We also need to rethink our approach to military-style weapons that are used to perpetrate mass shootings,” Cordray said.

 

Cordray indicated he did not want to negate the power of the Second Amendment, but that “we also need to strongly enforce existing laws, take steps to ensure the laws are not being circumvented and take further steps to make sure that guns don’t get into the wrong hands and are not being enhanced to engage in mass killings.”

 

Sen. Joe Schiavoni, also running as a Democrat, introduced a bill this week that would help school districts improve school safety measures. SB 258, which was introduced previously in the legislature but failed to move forward, would provide non-competitive grants for schools to use as they see fit.

“My office has been receiving heartbreaking emails and calls from kids who want us to do something to help them feel safe in school," Schiavoni said in a statement. We need to protect our children while we figure out the best way to end gun violence."

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running in the Republican primary, remains in favor of securing gun ownership for individuals. On that subject, she critiqued her opponent, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, on Twitter.

“Everyone's top priority should be keeping schools safe," she said. "But as someone else whose stance on defending our 2nd Amendment rights has 'evolved,' is DC DeWine going to flip-flop yet again and support another weapons ban? Ohio voters deserve to know."

DeWine’s plan proposes a mental health professional stationed in every school, more stringent use of a background check system in Ohio and a plea for officials to use "every current and emerging technology to analyze, investigate and intercept any threats to Ohio children and schools."