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Background Check Ballot Initiative Volunteers Look to Collect Signatures By End of Year

A photo of someone signing the petition.
Volunteer gathers signatures for citizen's initiated statute for gun sale background checks. (Names have been blurred to protect privacy.)

The group pushing for expanded background checks through a citizens initiative is attempting to collect enough signatures by the end of the year. Organizers say they have volunteers in dozens of counties around the state to gather support for stronger rules.

Ohioans for Gun Safety’s Dennis Willard says they are gaining volunteers and says the plan has even received support from gun owners. He notes that other states with universal background checks have seen improvement.

"Gun violence has gone down and lives have been saved," Willard says. "That's really what we're about, we're trying to reduce gun violence and save lives and we think that a simple background check, if you want to buy a gun get a background check is the most effective way, and quickest way to accomplish that."

If the group turns in 133,000 signatures by the end of December, lawmakers would have an opportunity to pass the background checks measure. If they don't act, the group could collect more signatures to put it on the ballot next year.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.