CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is just getting warmed up. After assuming office Jan. 14, DeWine navigated a whirlwind 2019 which saw the genesis of his top priority for 2020: curbing gun violence in Ohio.
“It came as a direct result of the tragedy that occurred in Dayton on Aug. 4," DeWine said in a one-on-one interview with him in the Capitol Building Tuesday morning.
His “Strong Ohio” plan is a mammoth 200-plus page piece of legislation that addresses everything from background checks to mental health services.
“I said after the tragedy, we need to take a comprehensive, holistic approach to this problem, but we need to respect the 2nd Amendment” DeWine said.
What the bill does not call for is universal background checks on firearm purchases, despite the majority of Americans supporting the idea.
“Candidly, universal background checks will never pass this legislature. We have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it through. It’s not going to pass” he noted. “What we’ve come up with is something just as good”.
DeWine’s plan calls for potential buyers to obtain a background check through their local sheriff’s office and present it to a seller if it is a private transaction—like through a gun show or online purchase. While it incentives a background check, it is not a mandate.
When the topic turned to national politics, DeWine sits in an unusual position.
He’s the Governor of a swing state who was a U.S. Senator the last time a president was impeached.
In 1998, he voted “guilty” on the two charges levied against President Bill Clinton.
When pressed about the presumed impeachment of President Trump, DeWine, a Trump supporter said “As Governor of the state, I’m not sitting there listening to all the evidence. It’s not my job. I’m not going to tell [Senator] Rob Portman what to do or [Senator] Sherrod Brown what to do."