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Westlake state representative introduces mental health bill requiring extensive review of potential threats

Posted at 12:49 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 18:58:15-04

COLUMBUS — A Republican state representative from Westlake introduced his own mental health and deadly weapons legislation last week, seeking to establish due process protocol in dealing with those issues.

On Sept. 17, Rep. Dave Greenspan announced the introduction of House Bill 338, known as the Mental Health Awareness and Community Violence Protection Act.

The purpose of the bill, according to a news release from Greenspan, is to:

  • Identify those in need of mental health treatment who may harm themselves or others
  • Protect our communities from acts of violence
  • Establish a due process protocol in dealing with mental health and deadly weapons
  • Create a standard protocol in addressing Mental Health and Deadly Weapons

The bill would require the involvement of law enforcement, a preliminary mental health evaluation, an extensive mental health evaluation and an appearance before a probate judge before an individual is identified as a threat and a determination is made about their access to deadly weapons.

“This bill is a responsible and responsive approach to address the issue of mental illness and deadly weapons and respects the individual due process protections,” said Greenspan in the release.

Click here to view the bill itself and a Powerpoint presentation explaining its contents.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has called for reforms to Ohio’s background check system and for legislative action to allow courts to restrict firearms access for people received as threats.

In a news conference held shortly after the deadly shooting in Dayton, DeWine outlined a series of legislative actions he wants the Legislature to take up to address mental health and gun violence.

“We can come together to do these things to save lives,” DeWine said.

DeWine’s outline includes safety protection orders to remove firearms from potentially dangerous individuals, “while maintaining an individual’s right to due process,” but does not include specific “Red Flag” legislation.

Todd Karam, from the Cleveland Armory, understands some of the reasoning behind the governor's idea.

"I think that's where they need to start with the focus because every time we've had a lot of these most recent shootings, in almost all cases, these people have had some mental problems, whether it be drug-medicated or otherwise. I think we should start there because that seems to be the most common theme recently," Karam said.

Kim Rodecker, owner of Concealed Carry Courses in Cleveland, has some concerns about efforts to ban guns.

"Nobody should be able to take these away. It's the second amendment. It should not be infringed upon. It's there for a reason," Rodecker said. "A bad person, a bad guy, a crazy psychopath or a terrorist, he's gonna get whatever he wants. Always has, always will."

Read more about DeWine’s proposals here.