For the second time in two years, Upper Arlington City Council is urging state leaders to reform gun laws.
In April 2018, council passed a resolution encouraging the Ohio General Assembly to bring state firearms laws in line with federal laws, including raising the minimum age required to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, adding universal background checks at points of sales and permanently prohibiting sales to those convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, such as domestic violence.
That call wasn't answered at the Statehouse, but it hasn't stopped council from taking action again. On Aug. 26, council unanimously passed a resolution urging the General Assembly to take action to reform gun laws. This most recent measure outlined 17 proposals for enhancing community safety related to guns.
Many of the proposals piggyback those made by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, such as developing a portal for local agencies to file protection orders so law-enforcement officers have more information when making traffic stops. Gun dealers also would be able to access the portal before making sales.
The Upper Arlington resolution also proposed increasing access to inpatient psychiatric care and behavioral health services and again called for background checks for all firearms sales in Ohio, including at weekend gun shows. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which became effective in 1994, already requires mandated federal background checks on firearms purchasers.
Additionally, the resolution called on legislators to increase penalties for violent felons who illegally possess firearms, for those who commit felonies while possessing firearms and for those who brandish guns. It also called for tougher sentences for those who obtain guns illegally and those who improperly provide firearms to minors. It also seeks to expand school tip lines to help people report potential safety threats.
According to the resolution, the action was brought, in part, "due to the recent tragic shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas."
"I hope this starts a trend," said Jim Lynch, a member of council. "I hope that we see other communities across the state step forward and encourage the General Assembly to pass some sensible reforms."
Sue Ralph, another council member, said she thinks the resolution sends "a clear message that Arlington supports safe-gun legislation and that we want to keep our residents safe."
It remains to be seen what, if anything, the Ohio General Assembly will do in the area of gun-law reforms. DeWine continues to receive media coverage for his calls for change, including his proposal for the portal that would send background information to police and gun dealers.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Aug. 29 that after DeWine's calls a day earlier for the portal, the Buckeye Firearms Association wrote on its website that it's awaiting final bill language but that it "agrees that the background-check system is broken and supports the concept of enforcing current law rather than passing new laws for background checks. Gun-rights advocates and the entire gun industry have long supported fixing the system to include state criminal and mental health records."
The Columbus Dispatch reporter Rick Rouan contributed to this story.