Springfield state legislator seeks to increase charge for repeated illegal firearm possession

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Aug. 3—A state representative from Clark County introduced legislation on Monday that would increase the penalty for repeat offenders who are illegally possessing firearms.

Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, of the Ohio House of Representatives said the legislation would target repeat criminal offenders who are found illegally in possession of a firearm after losing that right under state and federal law.

A news release from the state legislator added that the legislation, if passed, would raise the penalty for repeated offenses of illegally possessing a firearm to a second-degree felony.

"The up-tick in gun violence plaguing Springfield over the last months has shown the importance of getting repeat violent offenders off our streets," Koehler said in the news release.

There have been several high-profile incidents of gun violence in the Springfield, including a shooting at a venue that left six injured in early June and a shooting at a Speedway that left one dead and three injured in July.

Koehler said that by raising the charges related to illegal fire arm possession, it will allow for longer jail and prison sentences.

"It has become clear that criminals are never going to obey the laws we write in Columbus. After talking with public safety officials, the only way to stop these individuals from illegally obtaining firearms is to keep them in prison. Increasing restrictions for law-abiding gun owners will not change that," he said.

The legislation would bump the charge of those with a past conviction of a "felony of violence," to a second-degree felony on the first offense. That relates to those being charged with illegally possessing a firearm.

The legislation would also bump that charge up to a first-degree felony on a repeated offense, according to the news release.

The next step for the legislation is for it to be referred to a House committee.

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