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Dayton’s mayor, activist groups endorse ballot initiative on universal background checks

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DAYTON, Ohio — Since July Ohioans for Gun Safety, a grassroots volunteer group of individuals, has been slowly gathering petition signatures to put a piece of legislation in front of lawmakers that would close loopholes in the background check system here in Ohio.

More commonly referred to as universal background checks, the effort has been low-key until now.

Wednesday morning, Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, and activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, officially endorsed Ohioans for Gun Safety's efforts. A representative from Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, stood with them as well.

A spokesman with Ohioans for Gun Safety tells NBC4, this endorsement will help in the next phase of the petition gathering process.

They have until the end of the year to gather more then 130,000 signatures from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties to put the bill in front of legislators.

Lawmakers would then have until the end of April to act on the bill. If they fail to act, or act in way that does not satisfy Ohioans for Gun Safety, further signatures can be sought with the intent of putting the measure on the ballot for the people of Ohio to decide at a general election.

Mayor Whaley, who also supports efforts Governor Mike DeWine announced last week to enhance the accuracy of background checks and to create a private seller background check process says, the administration hasn't gone far enough with background checks.

According to Whaley, 9 out of 10 Ohioans want universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted made it absolutely clear during the news conference where the Governor's legislative proposal was revealed that the administrations efforts were in no way a universal background check.

The DeWine proposal has been criticized as catering too much to pro-2nd Amendment groups.

Whaley says DeWine's voluntary private seller background check is reactive where a universal background check stops people who shouldn't have guns from getting them in the first place.

According to Ohioans for Gun Safety, all of the signatures gathered so far have been done so with volunteers. Moms Demand Action will be assisting with gathering signatures, and Ohioans for Gun Safety say some paid petition gatherers will be brought on in the near future.

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