Ohio Gov. John Kasich took to the Lincoln Room of the Ohio Statehouse Thursday to announce a multi-faceted gun violence prevention plan.
The plan focuses on legal gun sales, criminal background checks and anticipating a federal ban on bump stocks, devices that attach to guns in order to allow more rounds to be fired in a shorter amount of time.
The outline consists of six steps to reduce gun violence, including a gun violence protection order (GVPO) that would allow certain individuals to request that firearms be removed from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Formed by a committee of five advisers, including former Republican state Rep. Ron Maag and U.S. Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce, the gun proposal does not address any potential ban on assault weapons, or increasing the legal purchasing age for guns.
Other members of the advising committee include Jim Tobin of the Catholic Conference of Ohio, John Born, director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Tom Niehaus, former president of the Ohio Senate.
The group, mostly consisting of Republicans, finished their work Tuesday and presented their ideas to the Ohio General Assembly leadership with the hope the ideas will be passed into law.
“I will tell you that the group that has met here over the last couple of months has been very civil. We disagree, we share ideas, but at the end of the day what we did agree on were changes that will make it safer in the state of Ohio,” Maag said.
In addition to tightening gun sales and background checks, the proposal outlines prohibiting people with domestic violence convictions from owning guns, enhancing a law that stops people from buying guns for felons, and halts sales of armor-piercing ammunition.
Kasich was adamant that, while he and the others were striving for a safer state, they did not want to infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights.
“We did not want anyone [on the committee], honestly, who did not have support for the Second Amendment,” Kasich said.
Kasich said there was discussion among the group to raise the minimum age to purchase all firearms from 18 to 21, but none that made it into the final outline.
Many of the points mirror existing federal laws, though Kasich made a point to highlight current Washington gridlock amid calls to put stricter federal gun regulations in place.
“We’ve witnessed, in the last 24 or 48 hours, a breakdown in Washington, an inability to figure out what is possible,” Kasich said. “Sometimes here in Ohio we’ve been able to do the art of the impossible, but in this case for this issue, I believe that it is best to pursue what is possible.”
Kasich’s proposal Thursday follows two weeks of national dialogue about gun violence after a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead.
Students from the site of massacre, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have been at the forefront of the discussion, organizing rallies and challenging elected officials in Florida and across the country to take action to prevent another high-profile shooting.
Kasich was optimistic regarding the student-led protests.
“I think that we’re seeing a new era of citizenship,” Kasich said. “There are people now who are engaged in saying and doing something who have never said or done anything before.”
A gun-reform march is scheduled in Columbus for March 24.
While the plan has been presented to Senate and House leaders, it might be some time before any legislative action is taken.
“We hope that we’re not going to see any more of this violence. Unfortunately I think that likely we’re going to continue to see problems, and nobody wants to be in a position to say, ‘We sold a gun to a felon, and we should’ve known.’ We’ve seen this now, in other places, where people shouldn’t have had guns, had the system been up to snuff,” Kasich said.