A so-called “red flag” bill introduced in the Republican-dominated Ohio Senate would allow authorities to confiscate guns from people thought to be safety risks to themselves and others. Within two weeks of that seizure, a court would have to decide whether the person could get his or her gun back.
The bill, backed by Democratic state Sens. Sandra Williams and Joe Schiavoni – who’s also running for governor – has the support of a major gun reform group. Maureen Washock with Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense says that if Florida had a law like this on the books, the mass shooting at a Parkland high school may have been avoided.
“Several people had raised red flags about the shooter in this incident,” Washock says.
According to a press release from Schiavoni, five other states have similar laws.
“Family members are often the first to know when a loved one starts showing signs that they’re dangerous to themselves or people around them,” Schiavoni said in the release. “Sadly, there aren’t many options available to be proactive, remove weapons and prevent those moments from becoming tragedies.
Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, says his group is fine with taking guns away from dangerous people. But he says there must be due process first.
“It sounds like what they are saying is, ‘Let’s take someone’s rights away and then figure out if we did the right thing,” Reick says.
Gov. John Kasich suggested similar legislation after the Parkland shooting, calling for gun control regulations at the state and local level. Many of his fellow Republican state lawmakers have raised questions about such proposals, though.
The city of Columbus announced a new slate of gun control proposals this week, among them prohibitions on possession of firearms for people previously convicted of domestic violence or under a protection order.