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Ohio Enacts Law That Could Let Out-of-State Groups Sue Ohio Cities and Towns Over Gun Safety Measures; Ohio Moms Demand Action, Everytown Respond

January 3, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today criticized the legislature for overriding Gov. Kasich’s veto to enact House Bill 228, a bill that could allow out-of-state special interest groups to sue Ohio cities and towns for attempting to enact or enforce local solutions to gun violence.

“As states from Florida to Kansas passed common-sense gun laws this year, Ohioans across the state asked our legislature to strengthen our public safety laws, too,” said Laura Lewis, volunteer leader with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “But after rejecting sensible proposals like a Red Flag law, the legislature has now taken us in the exact opposite direction. We’ll remember where lawmakers stood on this, and we’ll do whatever it takes to convince the legislature to pass the kind of gun laws that will make us safer.”

In vetoing House Bill 228, Gov. Kasich reiterated his support for Red Flag legislation, which would empower family members and law enforcement to petition a court for temporary removal of firearms when there is evidence someone poses a threat to self or others. Thirteen states now have Red Flag laws, including Florida and seven other states that enacted them after February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“That the General Assembly has been unwilling to even debate the idea is baffling and unconscionable to me,” Kasich wrote. Red Flag legislation was one of the several changes to Ohio gun laws recommended by a bipartisan gun safety commission earlier this year.

HB 228 initially included a “Stand Your Ground” provision and language that would have encouraged people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or firearm safety training by removing the threat of serious punishment. But after widespread opposition — and a lengthy hearing at which Ohio law enforcement leaders, Moms Demand Action volunteers and others shared their concerns — lawmakers dropped these provisions from the bill.

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