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Springfield politicians react to governor’s gun proposals

Springfield was directly impacted by the Dayton mass shooting and potential gun legislation resulting from the slayings will also have a big effect on the region.

Springfield resident Derrick Fudge, 57, Springfield native Monica Brickhouse, 39, and seven others were killed in a shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District on Aug. 4.

Two days after the shooting, Governor Mike 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.

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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 to himself or herself, 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.

Springfield statehouse representative Kyle Koehler, a Republican, will likely cast a vote on the proposals. He is still working through the details.

“I can definitely support the increased penalties on felons who have no right to possess a gun (but are found to have them anyway),” Koehler said. “Also increased penalties on anyone who uses a gun to commit a crime. I support his proposal to make better use of psychiatric hospitals in Ohio.

“I will need to better understand how the governor proposes to protect due-process when it comes to a red-flags proposal. I assume his bills will come through the federalism committee that I am on and anticipate going over them in great detail this fall.”

Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said he agrees with DeWine’s proposals, but would also like to see “assault-style” weapons that have the capacity to shoot a large number of bullets in a short amount of time banned in America.

“It only addresses part of the problem, the bigger issue that I hope they will handle at the national level is these magazines,” Copeland said. “This guy was able to shoot a whole lot of bullets in a little amount of time.”

Nearly 50 people were injured in Dayton in less than 30 seconds of shooting, according to police.

“I would hope to go after the military guns, and the magazines, which I think leads to serious problems and tragedies,” he said. “If (the Dayton shooter) didn’t have the magazine, there would have been a lot fewer people hurt. I support what Dewine is proposing, but in the long run, we need national legislation and getting the guns that can kill people so quickly out of circulation.”

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Koehler said he doesn’t believe banning any type of guns will stop mass shootings. It’s a people problem.

“It is not what the gun looks like that makes it dangerous. All guns sold today can only fire a single bullet with each pull of the trigger. It is the person behind the gun that makes it dangerous,” he said. “The disregard for the health and well-being of others in this country is pandemic. Violence, whether it is with a gun in Dayton, with a knife in Orange County or using an automobile like the lady did in Springfield last month - are all tragic evidence that people have resorted to hurting and killing others as a way to deal with conflict.

“We all have to take responsibility for this change in society,” Koehler said. “From parents to politicians, from our schools to Hollywood and TV. Everyone.”

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