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DeWine Backs Proposed Law That Could Lead to Longer Sentences for Career Criminals

Most violent crimes in Ohio are committed by people who have at least two felony convictions. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on a bill coming this week that seeks to cut down on gun-related crimes by locking up those people.

Research on violent crimes data from 1974 to 2010 shows less than 1 percent of Ohio’s population has two or more felony convictions – and they committed 57 percent of those crimes in that period. Columbus Republican Sen. Jim Hughes says it’s time the law targeted those people he calls career criminals.
“This legislation is designed to go after the worst of the worst.”

The bill would double the required sentence for using a gun in a crime for career criminals – from up to 5 years in prison for possessing a gun to 11 years. Attorney General Mike DeWine says more than half of those crimes were committed in the counties encompassing Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, and he says next week he’ll announce a pilot program to get criminals to – in his words – modify their behavior.

“I think there’s a moral imperative that we not put up with this,” says DeWine.

The legislation does not include any new regulations on background checks for gun purchases.