The Governor of Ohio said it was important to him to visit Springfield since the city was directly impacted by the Dayton mass shooting.
Gov. Mike DeWine was in Springfield Friday afternoon at New Day Christian Fellowship, 1023 W. High St. to speak with religious leaders about his proposed gun legislation.
“Last week we did a meeting with faith-based leaders in Montgomery County. Because Clark County was impacted with two deaths, I thought it was appropriate to do the same thing in Clark County,” DeWine said. “We’re going to follow this with some other meetings in the area of the Miami Valley as well.”
Springfield resident Derrick Fudge and Springfield native Monica Brickhouse were killed on Aug. 4 when gunman Connor Betts opened fire in the Oregon District in Dayton. He killed seven other people and injured dozens more, and police killed him.
Two days after the shooting, Dewine, a Republican, proposed a new version of a “red flag law” that the legislature has considered in the past. Red flag laws, also known as ‘extreme protection orders’, allow police or close family members to get a court order to remove firearms from someone who appears to be a danger to themselves or others.
DeWine’s proposed red flag law would protect “due process,” he said, by requiring a judicial hearing to be held within three days of a person’s firearms temporarily being confiscated. If a judge determines a person is a threat, the gun owner could be ordered to get mental health care before their firearms are returned to them.
DeWine also called for more stringent background checks, increased monitoring of social media, stiffer penalties on felons who possess guns and making sure “soft targets” such as the Oregon District, schools and places of worship are protected.
The Springfield News-Sun was part of a media team across the state that asked each state legislature whether they agreed with DeWine’s proposals. Many of them said they weren’t sure until they saw the actual legislation and vowed to protect constitutional rights.
“We’re working every single day with the second-amendment community,” DeWine said. “We are trying to make sure that the bill that we propose does protect second amendment rights in regard to what we’re calling the personal protection orders.”
He said due process is a major part of his legislation.
“We’re not going to be taking any guns away unless there is a fair hearing in court and unless it’s proven that person is a real threat to themselves or others,” DeWine said.
DeWine said he wanted to meet with the faith-based community to ask for their support of his new proposals and to also take the opportunity to meet with them and tell them that if they’re seeing problems that he wants to hear from them.
Eli Williams, the leader of Urban Light Ministries in Springfield, said he appreciated DeWine coming to Springfield and talking with faith leaders.
“I thought it was really important,” he said. “These are important topics and its great we have a governor who has prioritized it enough that he’s willing to come to the various communities and ask us for input.”
He also said that he liked that DeWine gave the community leaders time to talk about other issues facing the community.