House dysfunction might derail gun reform in Ohio
House Republicans said Wednesday they might be done for the year as they struggle to name a new Speaker. That could jeopardize several legislative efforts including Governor Kasich's gun reform package.
Republicans have been searching for a new speaker after the sudden resignation of Rep. Cliff Rosenberger. Rosenberger has been under investigation for lavish trips he took to London while in office.
Republican Rep. Michael Henne has sponsored a bill which includes several of Kasich's gun reforms including banning bump stocks and setting up a red flag system where a court could take away guns from someone who is mentally ill or a violent offender. Henne said Wednesday he's concerned the House may not return from its summer break for the rest of the year because it can't agree on who will lead the chamber. He said he's concerned he doesn't have enough time to pass his gun reform bill.
More than a hundred people rallied Wednesday morning outside the Statehouse in support of Henne's bill and a similar one working its way through the Ohio Senate.
"I don't want any other grandmother or parent to go through what we're going through," said Ethel Guttenberg, who lost her granddaughter during the Parkland, Florida shooting. "It's just not right."
Sen. John Eklund, R - Munson Township, has sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.
"I can support and sponsor this bill and ultimately vote for it and hold my head high with gun advocates all across the state of Ohio," Eklund said. "It's about responsible gun ownership and public safety."
The reforms have been getting push-back from pro-gun groups.
"We're going to make dang sure that these lawmakers know that if they're going to pass these gun control bills they're going to have to face stiff consequences for it at election time," said Chris Dorr with the group Ohio Gun Owners.
The people from the group Moms Demand Action rallying in the rain outside the Statehouse said they wanted lawmakers to know there also may be consequences if they don't pass something.
"We can't let this go," Guttenberg said. "It can't go away like all the other times and nothing is done legislatively to make things safer."
Eklund said his bill could pass as soon as June but may take until the fall to get it done. Senate President Larry Obhof has said the bill won't pass in its current form. He said it may need to be attached to other legislation.
The House is scheduled to be back in session next week before its summer recess.