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DeWine shifts focus to gun violence bills after eliminating concealed carry requirements

 Gov. Mike DeWine (R) speaks to reporters after a ribbon cutting ceremony in Powell.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) speaks to reporters after a ribbon cutting ceremony in Powell.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said there are measures in the legislature that can help reduce gun violence while noting that the permitless carry bill he signed into law is simply "consistent" with the U.S. Constitution.

DeWine signed the bill after an outpour of input from a wide range of organizations. Gun regulation groups and law enforcement organizations wanted DeWine to veto the bill while gun rights groups urged him to sign the legislation.

The bill, SB215, removes the requirement to receive eight hours of training and a license before legally carrying a concealed firearm.

Ultimately, DeWine signed the measure saying "about half the states now have this provision. And this is, I think, consistent with the United States Constitution."

When asked about the bill, DeWine pivoted to other measures that he believes would have a direct impact on reducing gun violence.

He mentioned legislation that would give a judge the ability to put a repeat violent offender in prison for up to 10 years if they are found in illegal possession of a firearm.

DeWine said that measure, along with increased funding for police departments and law enforcement training, can increase public safety.

"People across the board, Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals should be for all of these things," DeWine said.

Signing SB215 marks a notable shift in DeWine's approach to gun issues since taking office.

Shortly after the Dayton mass shooting in August 2019, DeWine rolled out a 17-point plan to reduce gun violence. That plan included expanding background checks and increasing a judge's ability to seize firearms from someone who poses a risk to themselves or others.

DeWine made that gun violence prevention plan, dubbed "STRONG Ohio," a priority throughout 2020. It never moved in the legislature. DeWine had added some gun regulations to last year's budget, but they were stripped out by lawmakers. DeWine had said he would be reintroducing some proposals on guns last year, but didn't.

However, in January 2021 DeWine signed the "Stand Your Ground" bill which removes the duty to retreat before a person uses lethal force in self-defense.

In signing the permitless carry bill, Desiree Tims, president and CEO of Innovation Ohio, said DeWine "ignored grieving Dayton families and signed away Ohioans' lives."

The governor said those other measures to increase public safety are still pending in the legislature and need to be passed.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.