Ohio lawmaker wants to raise the age for expunging juvenile records after Dayton shooting

Ohio lawmaker wants to raise the age for expunging juvenile records after Dayton shooting

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Next week marks two months since a gunman killed nine people and injured 27 others in a mass shooting in Dayton.

Now some state lawmakers want to raise the age for expunging juvenile records.

They said it could prevent at-risk youth from buying guns.

Former high school classmates said the Dayton shooter, Connor Betts, had a "hit list" at school.

He was 24 at the time of the shooting, and his records had reportedly been expunged. Betts was clear to buy a gun in a background check.

Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R- Cincinnati) and Dayton Representative Phil Plummer want to increase the age juvenile court records can be expunged from 23 years old to 28 years old because of the Dayton shooting.

19 News spoke to Representative Seitz over the phone.

He said this plan "will improve the quality and quantity of information available in background checks."

Seitz said many adults who commit serious crimes can't own guns, and juveniles who committed similar crimes should show up longer on background checks.

19 News also spoke to Ohio Public Defender Tim Young over the phone, he’s against Sietz’s plan.

Young said the fundamental idea of the juvenile justice system is children are not treated as criminals, and it's all about starting adult life with a clean slate.

He pointed out juvenile records are not automatically thrown out at 23 years old.

The former juvenile offender must apply to a judge to have their records sealed first, then they get expunged.

Seitz said anyone with a juvenile court record could still have those records sealed at 18 years old, so they don’t carry their past around forever.

He said this plan could be a stand-alone bill or added to Governor Mike DeWine’s gun reform proposal, they haven’t decided yet.

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