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Lawmaker fires back at GOP ridicule of bump-stock ban bill

(April 12, 2018) — An Ohio lawmaker is calling for a citizen’s coalition on gun violence after his proposed ban on bump stocks, which can increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon, was lambasted in a Senate committee Wednesday.

Sen. Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati, said in a statement that lawmakers showed a “clear indifference” to gun legislation in committee hearings.

“Followed by years of inaction, these recent months of idleness and apathy coming from the Republican-controlled state legislature make clear to me that far more citizen action may be necessary in order to see genuine gun reform in this state,” Thomas said in a release.

“We saw the power of the citizen referendum during the redistricting process a few months ago, when Republicans were forced to work across the aisle because of the pressure citizens’ groups and voters placed on them,” Thomas said. “A similar approach to gun control might be the only way to pass substantive, bipartisan legislation in Ohio.”

Thomas, a retired Cincinnati police officer, was grilled in a hearing by Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester, who said a ban on bump stocks was unneeded since the same effect could be created with a rubber band wrapped around a gun’s trigger.

Coley also compared shooting guns to skydiving, saying both were practiced for the thrill of it.

Coley also took issue with a proposed “red flag” law, which would allow the preemptive seizure of guns from a person who is deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, saying Ohio’s involuntary commitment laws already offer protections.

“I don’t feel a sense of urgency that members are taking this as seriously as the general public,” Thomas said. “These are not frivolous matters—we are talking about senseless, tragic gun deaths. Citizens’ voices need to be heard, and if the General Assembly won’t hear them, it’s time to hold them accountable.”