COLUMBUS — Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper released the following statement after Gov. Mike DeWine’s news conference this morning:
“Ohio Democrats have been pushing gun violence prevention laws for years, while Republican politicians in Columbus have worked overtime not just to stop them all, but to move in the opposite direction, including allowing guns everywhere from bars to day cares. In the wake of this horrific crime, our Democratic leaders in the Statehouse stand ready to work across the aisle on legislation that addresses the epidemic of gun violence.
“Mike DeWine proposed a red flag law this spring, and Republicans in the Statehouse refused to move it. We encourage the governor to use the bully pulpit — not just today but every day — to get something real done and stand up to the gun groups that are pushing inflammatory rhetoric to try to stop common-sense proposals.
“We also encourage GOP lawmakers to work with their Democratic colleagues on the various proposals Democrats have already introduced. Summarily prejudging a bill’s constitutionality — which has never deterred Ohio Republicans before — should not be used as an excuse to derail critical, life-saving legislation.
“It’s deeply troubling to hear DeWine indicate he continues to support the permitless carry law Republicans are currently pushing that would allow almost anyone to have a concealed firearm without a permit, without a background check and without training. This radical proposal would directly undermine efforts to make Ohioans safer from gun violence.
“Finally, it was troubling that DeWine did not explicitly make the connection between white supremacist groups and the spate of domestic terrorist incidents we are seeing across the country. Sadly, Ohio is now a hotbed of such groups, and it’s no secret that Donald Trump’s venomous and racist rhetoric is triggering groups like this around the country. State authorities are doing far too little to combat it. Real action would start with the governor and other officials expressly calling out such hatred and racism, both the president’s rhetoric and the groups themselves. And then it would involve action by the governor and the attorney general to take this threat as seriously as they do other groups that threaten public safety.”