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Craig Introduces Suicide Self-Defense Act

September 29, 2023
Hearcel F. Craig News

Today, state Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus), in recognition of September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, introduced the Suicide Self-Defense Act. This legislation would give Ohioans another way to protect themselves with a commonsense gun measure.

“We need to do whatever we can to support Ohioans when they experience times of distress and mental health crises,” said Craig. “That is why I introduced legislation today to provide Ohioans with a way to help protect themselves if they feel like they are at risk of suicide and do not want to have access to a firearm.”

The Suicide Self-Defense Act, also known as Senate Bill 164, would enable a person to voluntarily request the state attorney general to place them on a confidential database. The attorney general will then inform the national NICS database, which is used to inform gun dealers and law enforcement agents to prevent an individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

If a person wants to take their name off the attorney general’s database, all they have to do is request to be taken off. This will trigger a 21-day waiting period to safeguard against unsafe and impulsive decision-making. This waiting period can be waived by going to one’s own county Court of Common Pleas and requesting a hearing to protect their own Second Amendment right to due process. 

“This legislation is a measured, voluntary, and reasonable solution that will work for Ohio as a tool to help prevent death by gun-related suicide,” said Craig.

Similar versions of this bill have passed in Utah, Washington, and Virginia, and legislation is currently pending in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York and Wisconsin. The United States Congress last year considered a bipartisan measure that garnered the support of many outstanding mental health advocacy organizations.

Senate Bill 164 awaits formal introduction and assignment to a committee.