Gannett Ohio “Gun reform in Ohio: Republican senator pushes for protection orders, background checks”
Dayton Daily News: “New gun laws bill announced today would make significant changes in Ohio: Here’s what it would do”
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “GOP Cleveland-area lawmaker Matt Dolan introduces revamped version of Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun-safety plan”
WEWS TV Cleveland: “Ohio GOP lawmaker introduces gun safety bill; includes red flag law, enhanced background checks”
NBC4 Columbus: “Ohio Republican backs ‘commonsense’ gun control proposal”
Ohio Public Radio: “Ohio Republican lawmaker proposes bill to create safety protection orders, other gun reforms”
WLWT TV Cincinnati: “Ohio senator proposes bill aimed at reducing gun violence, expanding mental health services”
“The Constitution shall never be construed… to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
America’s Founders, in their wisdom, deliberated and authored the Second Amendment to provide U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. They were explicit that this right “shall not be infringed.” Within this context, “peaceable” does not allude to choosing peace over war, rather it describes law-abiding citizens acting in accordance with civil order – not committing unlawful violence upon others.
I also agree with Sam Adams that this right is to be preserved by peaceable citizens. The gravest threat to this bedrock constitutional right inside our Republic today is the reckless disregard for public safety, the rule of law and the preservation of life by unlawful citizens.
All life is precious but seeing children gunned down by evil in the form of a person not far removed from their victims’ ages is an especially grotesque stain on our country. As a parent, I am heartbroken over increasing prevalence of mass shootings in our country. As a legislator and former prosecutor who has taken an oath to support the Constitution, I am determined to act.
Law abiding citizens with sound mental state are rightly afforded an unfettered right to bear arms. However, citizens who are deemed mentally unfit or express an intent to commit violence upon themselves or others may no longer be peaceable. We have an obligation to protect our children, and all law-abiding citizens, from those who consciously or unconsciously abuse their Second Amendment right.
This week in Columbus I introduced Senate Bill 357, legislation that contains iron-clad due process protections for gun owners and effectively matches the current determinations of lawful gun purchase to that of lawful gun ownership. Ohio law already prohibits a person from purchasing a gun if they are mentally incompetent, mentally defective, or mentally ill, as determined by a court. Doesn’t it stand to reason that a court of law, after rigorous due process, can separate already purchased guns if the same disability exits after ownership?
SB 357 establishes a responsible and constitutionally compliant method to enhance public safety. Only after an individual has been deemed mentally ill by a medical professional and a court finds probable cause of expressed violence against themselves or others, can they be temporarily separated from their firearms.
This bill also maintains that any person between the ages of 18 and 21 years old can buy a rifle. Yet, if the purchase is anything other than a single shot rifle, then a person 25 years or older must be a co-signer of the purchase. Should the firearm be used or brandished in the commission of a crime, then the co-signer would be subject to civil penalties. Notably, the bill provides an exception for 18- to 21-year-old members of law enforcement or the military.
Finally, SB 357 imposes commonsense restrictions on the commercial transactions of firearms by imposing waiting periods for 18-to 21-year-old purchases, a voluntary seller protection order to shield a non-federally licensed dealer from civil liability, and inputting domestic, civil and criminal protection orders in the national criminal database in a timely fashion.
In McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear the banning of guns is unconstitutional. Yet, the same conservative majority also stressed some firearm regulation is constitutionally permissible. SB 357 was drafted with procedural safeguards to explicitly respect the rights of law-abiding citizens and the rulings of the Court by not imposing a ban on the ownership of a gun.
In Ohio, under Republican leadership, we have long been a national leader in advancing commonsense legislation that protects public safety and the constitutional rights we hold dear. SB 57 perpetuates this goal. It upholds our cultural traditions and firmly illustrates our commitment to preventing avoidable tragedies and protecting innocent life.
Matt Dolan is a State Senator from Chagrin Falls.