Marty Schladen The Columbus Dispatch
Two of the Democrats vying for the governor‘s nomination on Friday made proposals in response to Wednesday‘s school shooting in South Florida.
Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, wants to improve school safety, look for better ways to keep the mentally ill from getting guns and make the assault weapons that have been used in a recent spate of mass shootings harder to get.
“No more vague tweets. No more empty condolences. Elected officials need to take action. Here’s what I’m going to do,” Schiavoni said in a statement announcing the initiative.
One of his opponents, Former U.S. rep. and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, announced a push to ban assault weapons altogether.
“It will include a massive grassroots push, headed by (Kucinich running mate Tara) Samples, to mobilize voters to persuade mayors and city councils across the state to pass resolutions demanding that the General Assembly draft and enact legislation to ban the weapons,” the campaign said in a statement.
Seventeen were killed in Wednesday‘s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Police identified Nikolas Cruz, 19, as the shooter.
He had a long history of mental illness, but was still able to get an AR-15 — a semi-automatic rifle that typically has a big magazine, so it can fire many high-powered rounds quickly.
The same type of weapon was among those used in mass shootings that killed 26 last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 58 last October in Las Vegas, 14 in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2016, 26 — 20 of them small children — in Newton, Conn., in 2012 and in a shooting that killed 12 the same year in Aurora, Colo. There are more than 8 million AR-15s in the United States.
Schiavoni said he will re-introduce a bill intended to beef up safety measures in schools and meet with experts to look for ways to eliminate loopholes in background checks for guns. He also want to increase the training required to own an AR-15 and develop better “wraparound” services for schoolchildren, including for mental health.
”I firmly believe in our Second Amendment right to own firearms, but our kids trust us to keep them safe from evils like this,” he said. “At least six school shootings in the first two months of 2018 means something isn’t working.”