VOTERS AND GUN OWNERS SUPPORT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS,
SO WHY HAVE OUR LEGISLATORS FAILED TO ACT?
“What reasonable person – especially a responsible gun owner like me – would not support
universal background checks on all firearm purchasers?” asked Erin Rosiello. “Even now, all the
purchasers of guns from brick-and-mortar stores in Ohio go through federal background checks
to determine whether the purchaser is a felon, domestic abuser or has mental health problems.
However, about a quarter of all firearm sales and transfers are made by people who are not
required by state or federal law to conduct a federal background check on the purchaser. Having
a loophole that exempts almost a quarter of all gun purchases from background checks makes no
sense. With gun violence and gun suicides in America at epidemic levels, we need to do better.
“Indeed, polls show that 90% of voters, including more than 85% of gun owners, support
background checks on all gun purchases. They know, as the data shows, that about 80% of
firearms that are acquired for criminal purposes are obtained through transfers that do not require
a background check, so-called ‘private purchases.’ If that is so, why have our legislators
consistently failed to enact universal background checks? It can only be lack of courage – they
all know it makes sense. The last thing we need are legislators who lack the courage to enact
reasonable safety laws even when they are supported by the overwhelming majority of voters.”
“I want to make it clear that I strongly support the Second Amendment. However, it is evident
that the Second Amendment does not preclude universal background checks to prevent
dangerous people from obtaining firearms. For 27 years, the Brady Act has required background
checks for purchases from federally licensed firearms dealers, where over 75% of firearms are
sold. Moreover, 18 states have laws requiring background checks on gun sales. All these laws
are consistent with the Second Amendment. “
Notably, Governor DeWine said that he would take action after the Dayton shooting over a year
ago. Among his promised actions was legislation to require universal background checks and
“red flag” laws that would allow law enforcement to take firearms from a person found to be
dangerous to himself or others. Unfortunately, the Governor has now backtracked and now only
supports voluntary background checks, which effectively already exist today. Isn’t it about time
that the legislature passes reasonable firearms legislation such as universal background checks
that 90% of voters in Ohio support?