Local State Sen. Rob McColley and State Rep. Jim Hoops, both of Napoleon, weighed in on the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in comments to The Bryan Times after Gov. Mike DeWine’s new conference Tuesday morning.
Hoops, a Republican who represents District 81, called the incidents “tragic.” Both he and McColley, who represents District 1 in the state senate, said while they hadn’t yet had the opportunity to read DeWine’s comments in detail, they are ready to work on the issue when the Legislature reconvenes in September.
McColley said it is important to respect Second Amendment right when talking about possible solutions to incidents of gun violence.
“We need to be very certain to take time to make sure we are thoroughly reviewing and not trampling on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. And we need to be absolutely certain we have due process protections in place,” McColley said.
“These are really tragic events ... I think we really need to discuss it and not push it under the sheets. We also need to consider what they’re doing at the federal level. And I’m interested to see what President Trump will say when he visits Ohio (today),” said Hoops.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit El Paso and Dayton today.
Hoops said he believes more emphasis and financial resources need to be put into mental health initiatives to reduce gun violence, a position taken by Trump Monday.
Trump called for reform of the nation’s mental health laws “to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement,” he said.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said Monday in remarks condemning the shootings at a Walmart in Texas and in an entertainment district in Dayton that left a total of 31 dead and dozens more injured.
Hoops agreed. “I think we need to first look at it from the mental health aspect, to see what’s creating this. It’s not the gun, it’s the individual,” Hoops said.
Hoops said it was important to make sure proposed solutions do not negatively affect law-abiding citizens’ rights to bear arms.
“We need to respect and balance our Second Amendment rights when we’re discussing solutions, and ask ourselves if what we’re (proposing) as a solution will really solve the problem,” Hoops said.
He also cautioned that it is important in proposals to restrict firearm access for people perceived as a threat “to respect due process” and make sure it’s not abused or misused to unfairly or falsely accuse someone of being a threat.
“To me, respecting due process is the sticking point there,” said Hoops, who was appointed to his seat in 2018 when McColley was appointed to former Sen. Cliff Hite’s seat when Hite resigned suddenly in the wake of allegations he acted inappropriately with a state staffer. Hoops previously served four terms representing the same seat from 1999 to 2006.
Meanwhile, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said after DeWine’s news conference Tuesday that Ohio Democrats “have been pushing gun violence prevention laws for years,” while Republicans in Columbus have been moving in the opposite direction.
“It’s deeply troubling to hear DeWine continue to support permitless carry law Republicans are currently pushing allowing almost anyone to have a concealed firearm without a permit, without a background check and without training. This radical proposal undermines efforts to make Ohioans safer from gun violence,” Pepper said.
Pepper also said Trump’s rhetoric has been triggering violence by white supremacist hate groups around the country.