DeWine again seeks gun reform, but will GOP play ball?
Last month, Governor Mike DeWine signed a controversial “Stand your Ground” measure, a confusing thank you to his party after GOP lawmakers blocked him for more than a year on gun reforms.
Now DeWine is putting the few proposals that he believes have the best chance of getting GOP approval into the upcoming state budget bill.
More:Governor Mike DeWine reaches out to Ohio budget to tighten sentences for gun criminals
The ideas are not new and shouldn’t be controversial. DeWine talked about very similar reforms a decade ago when he was still the attorney general.
These reforms came after commissioning a study in 2011 that ultimately found that those convicted of three or more violent crimes were less than 1% of the population, but 33% of all convictions, in nearly four decades Identified violent crimes.
Criminologist David Kennedy, now working with Columbus to assess the continued rise in murderous violence in the city, has cited even more astounding numbers. Less than 1% of a city’s population is often behind up to half of that city’s violence, Kennedy says.
So it appears that the Law and Order GOP has no disputes with DeWine’s proposals, which include imposing longer sentences on repeat offenders who commit violence with firearms or are repeatedly caught illegally with guns.
But the gun lobby works in a mysterious way. We need to see what happens to DeWine’s latest strategy.
In the meantime, we don’t have to dig very deep to find the recent tragedies linked to suspects who have wielding guns and previous acts of violence.
Taashan Smith, 24, was first accused of carrying a hidden weapon in 2018. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 days in prison, all of which were suspended according to court records for the time he had already served.
The following year Smith was charged with mishandling a firearm. He pleaded guilty again and was tried for two years on January 8, 2020. Three months later, he applied for the return of the two weapons involved in the case.
“While most firearms are typically confiscated and destroyed after a criminal conviction, the defendant respectfully demands the return of his firearms to him,” wrote attorney Megan E. Grant in a petition to Franklin County Common Judge Chris M. Brown Please.
“Both firearms were legally purchased by the defendant at a fair. Although there was no excuse for committing the offense, the defendant did not know how to legally transport weapons in a vehicle, but plans to enroll in a gun safety course, eventually his plans Apply for a (hidden) license. “
Grant included Smith’s $ 673 receipt for the guns, a Glock 17 pistol, and a Jimenez Arms 9mm pistol on her application.
If Smith was serious about the safe use of guns, he might have taken the opportunity to hear about it after his earlier plea for carrying a hidden weapon. It also seems reasonable that Smith would have to wait until he is out of parole to get his weapons back if they are not destroyed as usual.
Brown didn’t keep him waiting long. On April 23, 2020, nine days after Grant filed her motion, the judge ordered that Smith’s firearms be returned “immediately” according to court documents.
It’s not clear if any of the firearms were involved last month when Smith was charged with reckless murder in the death of 26-year-old Keshawna Ximines, the city’s 22nd murder victim in 2021.
Another defendant in an unrelated case, Tylan Sims, first pleaded guilty in 2017 when his plea for attempting to carry a hidden weapon sentenced him to a three-day suspended sentence.
In 2019, he pleaded guilty to a major assault, but the weapon specification, which would have included a mandatory three-year prison sentence in addition to his sentence for the assault, was dropped as part of a consent form. Judge Kim Brown instead sentenced him to two years probation.
She also ordered him to abide by a number of conditions that Sims broke almost immediately. In early 2020, she put him in jail for 30 days for these violations and added other conditions. In August, his probation officer reported that he had escaped.
He showed up less than a month later; Columbus police charged Sims and a second man with murder in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Dezujwuan Pyfrom on September 7th.
Finally, there is Caleb Collins, who was accused of carrying a hidden weapon just five days after he was 18 in 2013.
He pleaded guilty, but the case was still pending when he faced more serious legal issues in the form of a 12-count charge related to a violent robbery of Leonard Avenue.
Collins pleaded guilty to either serious robbery or possession of a disabled weapon. It was found that as a minor he had been classified as a criminal for assault, which prohibited him from ever carrying a gun.
He was sentenced to six years in prison and released from state prison on July 29, 2020. By November, Columbus police wanted 25-year-old Collins, who was charged with the September 16 murder of 31-year-old Shawntaye, Gavin.
It may seem to a reasonable person that there is room for improvement, or at least serious discussion. Apparently DeWine seems to think so.
Don’t be surprised if GOP lawmakers in Ohio think differently.