COLUMBUS – Today, state Sens. Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) announced the reintroduction of two gun reform bills – one requiring universal background checks and the other raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm.
“The Dayton tragedy has brought us all closer together and through our sorrow, we are determined to curb senseless gun violence,” said Thomas. “These bills are common sense and widely supported. Most importantly, they make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands. I’m glad to have Senator Lehner’s support as we work to pass meaningful gun reforms that will save lives.”
Thomas introduced both bills earlier in the year without support from Republicans. Following the Dayton shooting, Lehner expressed her interest in having the legislation redrafted with her support as a joint sponsor. Lehner also recently joined Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) on her red-flag legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose an imminent danger to themselves or others.
“We might never know how many tragedies will be averted by this legislation but I have no doubt that these bills will save lives,” said Senator Lehner. “Whether it will be on a school playground, in a church where we gather to pray, or in a crowded entertainment district, this legislation will keep a gun out of the hands of someone intent on evil. The time for this legislation is long overdue and I pray that this legislature honors those whose lives have already been taken by passing it swiftly.”
The new background check legislation is modeled after Thomas’ Senate Bill 63. It would require all firearm transactions to be processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at the point of transfer. Gov. DeWine recently identified universal background checks as one of his priority proposals to reduce gun violence.
The lawmakers are also introducing a redrafted version of SB 64 to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 and increase the penalties for improperly providing a firearm to a minor. Under current law, an individual must be 21 to buy a handgun, but 18-year-olds are able to purchase long guns. The bill would preserve the current law’s exemptions for members of the military and law enforcement.