Ohio Gun Control Group Proposes Universal Background Checks

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Ohio lawmakers haven’t been big fans of gun control schemes. In fact, much of the effort on guns has been trying to roll back the state’s gun control laws, regulations that have done nothing to dissuade criminals but have had a negative impact on law-abiding gun owners.


Because those lawmakers haven’t jumped on the gun control bandwagon like the gun control crowd would prefer, one group has announced an effort to put universal background checks before the voters of the state.

Gun control bills have been ignored for years at the Republican-controlled Ohio Statehouse, so anti-violence advocates are now turning to the ballot box.

Supporters want to force lawmakers to review a universal background check bill with a citizen-initiated law.

A group calling itself Ohioans for Gun Safety plans to start the process Monday. Voters could see the measure on the statewide ballot in 2020.

The proposed measure would require a federal background check for all gun sales and transfers, closing a loophole that allows purchases through private sales online and at gun shows without a background check. All sales would have to go through a licensed dealer, which would conduct the background check and record the sale or transfer according to state and federal law.

There are exceptions to the proposal, such as transfers between family members, antique guns, and loans as well as taking a gun to a gunsmith for work.


As universal background checks go, it’s one of the tamer initiatives.

Of course, that’s because this group probably knows that they’ll need to water down the bill as much as possible if there’s going to be a hope in hell of Ohio voters supporting it. As it stands, getting a measure like this on the ballot isn’t exactly simple. You need a lot of signatures, which means you need to first sell it to those folks. Then it will go to the state house for consideration. If and when it fails there, they have to sell it to still more people to get it on the ballot.

And all of that is to get folks to vote on it.

Then they have to sell it to the people of Ohio. That’s going to be a tougher sell. If they were that interested in gun control, why do they keep electing pro-gun lawmakers to represent them in Columbus?

The above-linked report notes that a poll in March of 2018 found that 92 percent of people supported universal background checks. Of course, that’s a year ago and we haven’t seen much in the way of polling on the topic since then, especially as more and more people are finding that background checks don’t stop criminals from getting guns. They get them off the black market where there aren’t any checks.


Frankly, I couldn’t find any current polling on the topic. I suspect they couldn’t either, hence using a year-old poll in the story. However, it’s important to remember that attitudes change. What 92 percent of the people supported in March 2018 and what they support today can be very, very different.

So we’ll have to see how this measure shakes out in Ohio, but I suspect it’ll prove that the polling isn’t as reflective of today’s thinking as many would like to believe.

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