COLUMBUS — Today, Senator Michael Skindell (D–Lakewood) and Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced Senate Bill 260, which would establish an assault weapons ban throughout Ohio.
The legislation specifically makes it a felony of the fifth degree for possessing or acquiring an assault weapon. Under the bill, an “assault weapon” is an automatic firearm or semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine with the capacity of accepting ten or more cartridges and a semi-automatic firearm with a fixed magazine with the capacity of accepting ten or more cartridges. The legislation models Senate Bill 18 introduced in 2013 and co-sponsored by Senators Skindell and Tavares.
“The recent, sorrowful events in Florida and Nevada and so many more places teach us why it is important to ban weapons that are meant for waging war,” said Senator Skindell. “While we cannot stop every act of suffering inflicted upon the public, it is our responsibility to limit access to these assault weapons. Until better national standards are enacted to regulate the sale of these dangerous assault weapons, Ohio should have its own regulations to protect the public.”
“Assault weapons were designed to be used by trained members of the military to kill people. These weapons, unfortunately, are killing innocent children and adults by people who want to murder, maime and terrorize large masses of people in public spaces,” stated Senator Tavares.
Once banned under federal law between 1994 and 2004, assault weapons are now easy to obtain. Research has demonstrated that during the national ban period the number of attacks and deaths fell significantly compared to the previous ten years. (Rampage Nation, 2016, Klevares, Louis, University of Massachusetts at Boston.) After the assault weapon ban ended in 2004, the number of attacks and deaths shot up.
The legislation will also require the Office of the Ohio Attorney General to manage a registration database, through which it shall issue permits for the purchase of firearms and track the purchase of firearms and ammunition. In addition, it will require Ohio retailers to report all sales of firearms and ammunition to the Attorney General.