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Gun-Safety Bills Getting Attention at Statehouse

PHOTO: State leaders in Ohio today will hear more about two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. Photo: Ohio Statehouse. Courtesy: Ohio Statehouse.
PHOTO: State leaders in Ohio today will hear more about two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. Photo: Ohio Statehouse. Courtesy: Ohio Statehouse.
October 29, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two bills that would promote gun safety are getting attention at the Ohio statehouse today.

There will be sponsor testimony on House Bill 137, which would require background checks on all firearm sales.

Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, says it's a needed measure, because current law only requires background checks on sales involving licensed dealers, not sales at gun shows or on the Internet.

"There's an awful lot of buying and selling being done that we don't have any way of checking to see if this person has a prior record, is underage or may be on a domestic-violence restraining order,” she says. “We don't have any way to check on all those private sales."

Also today, there will be proponent testimony on House Bill 31, which prohibits storing or leaving a firearm in a home unless it is secured in safe storage or rendered inoperable by a tamper-resistant lock or other safety device if there's a chance a minor can gain access.

Hoover says the bills are not intended to take away gun ownership rights, but promote safety and keep firearms away from people who shouldn't have them, including criminals, those with a mental illness, and children and teens.

"If we look at the number of young people in this country that have gotten a hold of guns at home and then gone on because they have been disturbed in some way or another to hurt others, whether that was Chardon or Newtown, it all could have been prevented," Hoover says.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH