Rep. West Announces Bill Package To Curb Gun Violence
Lawmaker seeks to use comprehensive, proven approaches to improve community safety
March 01, 2018
[ Thomas West Home | Thomas West Press ]

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced his intention to introduce a comprehensive set of legislation to curb gun violence in Ohio. This announcement comes on the heels of nationwide outcry on the issue of gun safety following a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The set of legislation would implement a 72-hour waiting period, raise the minimum purchasing age for purchasing assault-style rifles to 21 and close the Charleston Loophole that allows felons to purchase weapons if their background check does not process after 72 hours.

“We have all heard the voices in our communities saying that enough is enough, and now is the time for action,” said Rep. West. “Our young people are standing up against violence in our neighborhoods and schools, but they cannot do it alone. That is why I am introducing these commonsense reforms to curb gun violence and increase public safety.”

Despite studies clearly displaying a significant decrease in gun violence in states with waiting periods for firearm purchases, Ohio does not currently have any such law. West’s bill package would require a 72-hour waiting period for all firearm purchases. The set of proposals also follows the lead of President Donald Trump and Florida’s Republican legislative leadership by raising the minimum age for purchasing assault-style rifles to 21.

West’s proposed legislation would also close the Charleston Loophole, which is named after the legal loophole that enabled white supremacist Dylann Roof to purchase a weapon that he used to massacre nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Current federal law requires all firearm dealers to run background checks. However, if the background check is not completed in 72 hours, the gun dealer is allowed to sell the firearm anyway, which some argue allows for guns to end up in the wrong hands.

“These proposals are not controversial or divisive,” said West. “The overwhelming majority of Americans and gun owners support waiting periods and universal background checks, and there is clear bipartisan support for raising the purchasing age for assault-style weapons. Now is not the time to sit back and wait for somebody else to solve the problem. We are here right now and have a responsibility to address this issue. These proposals would not take gun rights away from any law-abiding American. Instead, they will use proven, commonsense methods to reduce gun violence in our communities.”

West plans to gather support for these proposals in the coming days, and plans to introduce the bills shortly thereafter.

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