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Copley Shooter Bought Gun at Local Pawn Shop

Today it was reported that one of the two handguns used by Michael Hance to kill seven people during a shooting spree in Copley Township was purchased from a small pawnshop in downtown Barberton five days before the incident.

Employees of Sydmor's Jewelry on Second Street stated that they didn't notice anything unusual about Hance's behavior when purchasing the weapon. Further, because 51-year-old Hance had no felony criminal history, he easily passed the required federal background check and immediately took possession of a .45-caliber Hi-Point weapon.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(s), requires federally licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on prospective firearms purchasers to ensure that the firearm transfer would not violate federal, state or local law. Although federal law allows states the option of serving as a state "point of contact" and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, Ohio is not a point of contact state nor does it have any law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. Further, Ohio law does not require private sellers, i.e. those sellers who are not licensed dealers, to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm.

Gun control proponents contend that Ohio firearms laws are too lax when it comes to background checks, pointing to incidents such as the Copley shootings as the products of insufficient gun control legislation. They argue that more stringent firearms laws will help curb gun violence by preventing violent offenders from easily obtaining weapons.

On the other side, gun enthusiasts argue that both the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions provide citizens with the right to bear arms. Further, in the case of Hance, additional background checks would have been ineffective in preventing the Copley shooting due to Hance's clean background.

Regardless of which side of the argument you come down on, gun laws can be complex and difficult to comprehend. If you have questions regarding gun laws, contact an experienced Criminal Law Attorney today.