COLUMBUS – State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) introduced legislation today to increase the penalty for repeated criminal offenders who are found illegally in possession of a firearm after losing that right under state and federal law.
“The up-tick in gun violence plaguing Springfield over the last months has shown the importance of getting repeat violent offenders off our streets,” said Koehler. “I have been a steadfast supporter of the second amendment for my entire career and the sole intent of my bill is to protect law abiding citizens from the individuals choosing to engage in felonious activity with illegally obtained firearms.”
This legislation will raise the penalty for repeated offenses of illegally possessing a firearm to a second-degree felony. When this violation is related to a past conviction of a “felony of violence,” the penalty will be increased to a second-degree felony on the first offense and a first-degree felony on a repeated offense.
Under current Ohio law, many offenders are released on bond within 24 hours – permitting them to walk out of the police station following their arrest. Raising the charges related to illegal firearm possession will allow for longer jail and prison sentences for those perpetrating violence in Ohio’s communities.
“It is time to stop trying to remove inanimate objects from law-abiding citizens and, instead, remove the individuals who repeatedly possess firearms illegally,” said Koehler.
“It has become clear that criminals are never going to obey the laws we write in Columbus. After talking with public safety officials, the only way to stop these individuals from illegally obtaining firearms is to keep them in prison. Increasing restrictions for law-abiding gun owners will not change that.”
The bill now awaits referral to a House committee.