LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WOWK) — It’s one of the most divisive issues in our country today. Now, gun control activists are wanting to bring about change at the state level in Ohio.

The group Ohioan’s for Gun Safety filed a petition with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on Monday that would close a loophole allowing firearm sales without background checks at gun shows and sales between private individuals.

The petition is the first step the group has to take in hopes of changing the law at the state level.

Under the proposed measure, a federally licensed firearms dealer would have to handle those firearm sales and background checks.

WOWK 13 News spoke with locals to get their take on the petition.

“I’m a firm believer in the background check,” said Bryan Maynard, a Chesapeake resident. “[People] shouldn’t be able to just walk in here and buy a gun. They should go through the paperwork like everybody else.”

Others, like Tom Hall, a trainer with Buckeye Firearms Association and Foundation, disagree.

“You’re [going to] add additional requirements to law abiding citizens. A criminal is not [going to] go in and [buy a gun lawfully] if they require background checks,” said Hall. “A criminal is just going to go somewhere else. They’re going to transfer guns between criminals.”

According to the petition, the transfer of guns or sales between family members would be exempt from the proposal. 

If the petition advances, it will ask Ohio lawmakers to enact universal background checks. If lawmakers decline, the petition would be presented to voters.