YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – What is six-and-a-half pounds, a little over two-and-a-half feet long, about $500 to $600 and accessible in less than 10 minutes? A semi-automatic rifle.
On Monday, WKBN Reporter Tyler Trill took the standard background check to get approved to buy a gun in Ohio. In just eight minutes, he was approved and every gun in the store was available for purchase.
“I mean, today’s day and age, your system — it’s all computerized. It runs right through,” said Jeff Yocum, with Precision Shooting in Youngstown. “It knew exactly who you were. You were not a felon, no open warrants, things like that.”
“All they’re looking for is felonies and misdemeanors with violence,” said Ohio State Sen. Joe Schiavoni. “I think that’s a problem as well. I think we need to beef up that background check. There has to be a mental health component to that.”
Changes to Ohio’s gun laws could be coming — Governor John Kasich hinted at it over the weekend.
Kasich updated his website with a page on what he calls “common sense on the Second Amendment,” which mentions potentially expanding background checks and limiting sales on some weapons.
“Would you feel as if your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a goddarn AR-15?” Kasich said.
Schiavoni said there are too many loopholes when purchasing a gun and he’s reached out to Governor Kasich to fix that.
“If you banned these weapons today, the underground demand for these weapons would be so high, you wouldn’t even believe. So it’s about sensible background checks, it’s about time extensions, it’s about training.”
Youngstown Rifle and Pistol Club President Dan Ditullio said banning AR-15s is not the answer.
“I feel like they’re attacking this problem the wrong way, and the right way…would be to go after the individuals. We definitely have a problem — it’s not a gun problem. It’s a person problem. It’s a mental health issue problem.”
Still, Ditullio thinks we do need tougher background checks.
There hasn’t been any movement yet in Columbus on gun law reform, only discussions.
Editor’s note: A previous headline on this story referred to an AR-15 as an assault rifle. This story has been corrected to show that an AR-15 is not an assault rifle. WKBN regrets the error.