Congressman Warren Davidson called the two gun control bills that passed the House in March “bad” legislation, and some at his Monday town hall in Butler County are worried about their passage.
Hours after the June 2 mass shooting in Springfield, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine asked the General Assembly to take action to pass gun reform that will “protect our police, protect our communities, protect innocent victims” and provide law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges tools needed “to deal with these individuals (violating the law) and separate them from society.”
In his first in-person town hall since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Davidson, R-Troy, fielded questions from constituents from around the 8th Congressional District that represents all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties and the southernmost portion of Mercer County. The shooting was not addressed in the 80-minute town hall, but Davidson addressed questions on gun control and background checks.
Greg from Hamilton asked about the federal gun control bill being considered in the U.S. Senate, and said “it seems like another slippery slope.”
After their passage, Davidson said in a statement, “The bills make criminals out of law-abiding Americans and force all gun owners to go through government-licensed agents just to borrow a hunting rifle.”
H.R. 8, which has the support of eight Republicans, would establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties, and prohibiting a transfer between private parties ― with some exceptions, like to family members ― unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.
H.R. 1446 would close the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” which allows some gun sales to proceed before a background check is completed. It would increase the waiting period from three to 10 business days before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person. Only two Republicans backed this bill.
Davidson said while most times the background check “takes place fairly quickly,” he is against having a third party involved in the private sale of property.
“If you own a gun, I believe you should be able to sell your own car, you should be able to sell your own lawnmower, you should be able to sell a gun and you shouldn’t necessarily have to go through to some third party to do that,” he said. “That’s one of the key things, whether it’s your own firearms or your own money, the government a lot of times wants to get between you and the person you want to do anything with.”
Ron from Oxford voiced his opinion against the universal background checks, calling them a “preapproval of the United States government.”
Davidson said he’s hopeful the Senate’s filibuster rule will prevent the bills from passing.
“I just love how passionate people are about defending the Second Amendment. Now, unfortunately, there are some people passionate about trying to take it away, and right now they’re in the majority in the House, they’re in the majority in the Senate and they’re in the White House,” he said.
He said the bills he calls bad legislation are “going after a real problem.”
“There are too many murders in America, but the murders aren’t happening because of the kinds of controls they’re putting into place,” Davidson said. “There’s not a good cause-and-effect relationship there.”
Michael D. Pitman has been a reporter in southwest Ohio since 1999. He's covered local governments in Warren and Butler counties, as well as state and national issues. He currently covers the cities of Fairfield and Hamilton.