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Ohio gun safety group works on requiring background checks on most gun sales

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 21:03:51-04

CLEVELAND — Sadly, Latisha Powell knows how gun violence can change the lives of an entire family in a matter of seconds, that's why she's in support of proposed legislation that would require a background check for virtually all gun sales in Ohio.

Powell's son, 25-year-old Rommell Langford Junior, was the victim of gun violence back in January and had to spend months in the hospital and rehab, after he was shot multiple times at his Cleveland home.

Powell believes mandatory background checks would help keep guns and rifles out of the wrong hands.

“We have to put an end to it. We have to put an end to the gun violence,” Powell said.

"When it comes to guns, a person with a clean record should have that, not a person with a felony.”

The measure is being proposed by Ohioans for Gun Safety, a group that is once again collecting signatures for the proposal, after the initial version was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General.

The proposal would call for a background check on all gun sales, except when the gun or rifle is being transfer between family members, transferred as an antique, curios or relics, transferred for the specific purpose of hunting, or transferred to a federally licensed gunsmith for repair.

Dennis Willard, with Ohioans for Gun Safety, told News 5 similar laws have been enacted in 21 other states and pointed to studies that indicate mandatory background checks reduce gun violence.

“I think it’s really simple, but a critical first step in addressing gun violence and saving lives,” Willard said.

“We just want to close that loophole. If you buy a gun, get a background check and buy the gun. We support you purchasing that gun, but we think you should have a background check.”

“In states that have passed these background check for simple gun purchases, the rate of gun violence has gone down."

But Kim Rodecker, owner of Conceal Carry Courses in Northeast Ohio, told News 5 requiring background checks on all gun sales won't have a dramatic impact in keeping guns out of the hands of people with a criminal background.

"Criminals have always had guns, always will have guns,” Rodecker said.

“It's not enough to make any kind of a difference, it would be way more of a hassle than it would be a plus.”

Willard said if the Ohio Legislature doesn't act on the proposal within four months, his group will then collect the signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot in 2020.

It's a measure Powell believes will be a good first step in helping to curtail Ohio gun violence.

“At least it would slow it down, slow down guns getting into the wrong hands,” Powell said,

“If it was done to you, how would you feel about somebody putting a gun to your child’s head, or your loved ones head?”

Anyone with information on the shooting of Langford is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at 216-252-7463.

There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and an indictment.