Urged to ‘Do Something,’ Ohio Governor Backs ‘Red Flag’ Law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reacts as vigil attendees shout “Do Something” while he was speaking at a vigil at the scene after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reacts as vigil attendees shout “Do Something” while he was speaking at a vigil at the scene after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday proposed a “red flag” law that would allow authorities to take guns away from people who may harm themselves or others, responding to pressure for him to “do something” after a mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine people.

The Republican governor said he would ask the General Assembly to pass a law that would allow judges to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals believed by police or their relatives to be a danger, and to provide them with mental health treatment.

“We have an obligation to each other,” DeWine said at a news briefing. “If someone is showing signs of trouble or problems, we must help and we must not turn away.”

DeWine spoke three days after a gunman wearing body armor and a mask opened fire in a crowded Dayton, Ohio, neighborhood known for its nightlife early on Sunday. It was the second deadly U.S. mass shooting in less than a day.

The governor, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, was heckled on Sunday night as he spoke at a vigil for the victims of the rampage. Protesters repeatedly chanted “Do something!,” a reference to perceived state and federal inaction to curb U.S. gun violence.

“Some chanted ‘Do something!’ and they’re absolutely right,” DeWine said on Tuesday. “We must do something, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”

Gun control is one of the most divisive issues in American politics. Supporters of tighter restrictions say they are necessary to staunch a U.S. epidemic of gun violence, while opponents believe more controls would violate gun ownership rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia currently have “red flag” legislature in place, according to Giffords, a gun-control advocacy group. Such laws have predominantly been passed in states that vote largely Democratic, and the governor’s proposal for “red flag” laws could meet resistance in the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.

DeWine, who took office in January, expressed support for “red flag” laws following a deadly Passover shooting at a California synagogue in April.

In an address to the nation on Monday, President Donald Trump also backed “red flag” laws to allow guns to be taken away from dangerous individuals. The president proposed tighter monitoring of the internet, mental health reform and wider use of the death penalty in response to the two mass shootings over the weekend that left 32 people dead in Texas and Ohio.

Police named the Ohio gunman as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old white male from Bellbrook, Ohio, and said he was armed with an assault-style rifle fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds.

The killings in Dayton began at around 1 a.m. on Sunday in the city’s Oregon District and ended rapidly when nearby police moved in and shot Betts dead. At least 14 people were wounded by gunfire, while others were injured as they fled. Six of the nine people killed were black.

The gunman shot at least 41 bullets in the seconds before he was killed, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters on Monday. Police officers ended the rampage in about 30 seconds, Biehl said on Sunday.

Investigators were still trying to determine a motive, Biehl said. FBI agents were helping police.

The shooting in Dayton, a riverfront city of about 140,000 people in southwestern Ohio, took place just 13 hours after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed. The 21-year-old suspect in that shooting was arrested.

Sunday’s massacre occurred a week after a teenager killed three people with an assault rifle at a food festival in Northern California before taking his own life.

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

What do you think?

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Patti Harrison
Member

I can see both sides of this issue but I would feel more comfortable with it if government weren’t involved with it! I side on the more cautious side for the person being accused! Never know the circumstances why they are being “red- flagged”. I am what they call serious mentally ill, only because of my severe depression and anxiety issues, but I cannot have a gun only because of my diagnosis. We the mentally ill are just like you!

Jill
Member

I can see how this can go wrong if there is a left zealot. On the face it may be good, but the problem is the U.S. is morally corrupt. Without values, there is no moral compass for people if they do not believe in God. There are rules everywhere, covert or overt, natural or intellectual. If anyone may do what they want when they want, there is nothing wrong with shooting people. We are sliding down this spiral way to fast! Pray that we promote a moral life, and the killings will decrease.

Dave Hardesty
Member

Typical knee jerk reaction.
1. Who makes the determination?
2. How temporary is temporary?
3. Why didn’t the ‘red flags’ not get waved on the Dayton shooter, it went on for over a decade?
4. Who dropped the ball?

Methinks the governor doesn’t have a clue and is about to make things a lot worse for all of us.

Joey
Guest
Joey

Red flag? If the government wasn’t involved i would have more confidence in the process.

Screwtape
Member

This is a band-aid and completely violates the Bill of Rights. Red-flag laws, as Otis pointed out, are as unconstitutional as “no fly” lists. Where exactly is the due process? Check the 5th and 14th amendments if you don’t believe. e.g. your ex- files a complaint just for spite. Do you get a hearing? This is not unlike “Swatting”. If the government considers “involuntary confiscation” it should seriously consider “involuntary confinement” for mental evaluation and treatment. This would not only address the wackos/losers who commit mass murder, but also a large # of the homeless, who also frequently self-medicate.

Otis
Member

‘Red Flag’ is a sticky wicket. There are two trains of thought on such horrific events. One, unconstitutional, which would seize weapons immediately when an accusation is made, the other, weapons are seized after a legitimate judicial hearing and proof is established. There are problems either way. Who knows someone better than friends and family, but then again, danger to the public is tantamount. Another problem is that if some ‘nut’ is a threat to the rest of us, and he/she is summoned before the court, they might then say to themself, the time to act is now, thus prompting… Read more »

James
Member

Another “We did something because it feels good” piece of paperwork. Will those who are hauled into Court be allowed to defend themselves? NO. Are those who are hauled into Court all mentally deranged? NO. Are those whose ex-wife or girl friend are the ones who claim to be in “physical danger” actually looking for personal revenge? YES. Will my neighbor whose pissed at my dog barking occasionally call for “red flag law” protection? VERY Possibly. This law has the potential to be misused so often by so many for so many reasons it’s incalculable and is open for widespread… Read more »

Robin
Member

I see the good in this idea, but also the gut reaction when terrible things happen to go overboard. The idea that police could take guns goes against the 2nd Amendment, unless specific safeguards were in place. The idea that families could be pivotal in this is key. Families who know something is wrong, and potentially dangerous should be legally obligated to raise that red flag.

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