Democrats in Ohio’s General Assembly are finding what appears to be rare bipartisan ally on gun legislation.

Sen. Peggy Lehner, a Republican from the Dayton suburb of Kettering, intends to become a primary sponsor on a "red-flag" proposal, Senate Bill 19, that has languished in committee without a hearing since Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, introduced it with six Democratic co-sponsors in February.

Lehner said Thursday that she has verbal commitments from other Republicans, whom she declined to identify, who are interested in co-sponsoring the legislation as well after a gunman shot and killed nine people and injured several others in Dayton’s Oregon district early Sunday morning.

“At the time (the legislation was introduced), I didn’t feel that there was the momentum to get anything significant passed in the legislature,” Lehner said. “I think that has changed largely because of what just occurred in Dayton. I think that in order to be successful, the passage of that, it’s important to be bipartisan.”

In December, Lehner voted against a stripped-down version of a stand-your-ground bill her fellow Ohio Senate Republicans passed, saying the Senate's response to shooting deaths in Ohio so far had been "to do nothing about that."

"Even the most simple, common-sense measures have been rejected by this body. Instead, the only piece of legislation … is designed to protect the gun owner," she said at the time.

Williams mentioned Wednesday during a press conference on the state capitol steps in Nashville, where legislators from around the country joined together to call for gun reforms, that Lehner planned to support her bill.

“I think we’re making progress,” Williams said during the press conference. She noted though that former Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, supported red-flag legislation, but could not get it made into law despite his party holding both chambers of the legislature.

A deadline has been set for Friday for co-sponsors to join the legislation, which would be reintroduced with bipartisan support.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday introduced a multi-point legislative plan to combat gun violence, including his own version of a red-flag law designed to remove guns from individuals deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

DeWine’s office has not provided legislative language, but the first-year Republican governor said gun owners would have a hearing in front of a judge within three days of a motion filed for a “safety protection order” before their guns could be seized.

It could be used in conjunction with Ohio’s existing “pink-slip” law that gives police, a judge or mental health professional authority to immediately involuntarily commit a person deemed a danger.

Williams’ legislation would allow a judge to issue an ex parte extreme risk protection order if the petitioner asks for one without a hearing and includes detailed allegations based on firsthand knowledge “that the respondent poses a significant danger” to cause injury to themselves or others by possessing a gun.

That order then could be used to remove guns from that individual, with a hearing to issue the longer-term order scheduled within 14 days.

Lehner said she is “very interested” in finding bipartisan agreement on a red-flag law, whether it’s Williams’ original legislation or a blend with DeWine’s proposal.

“I think we can all get behind one piece of legislation,” she said.

Lehner said she senses “momentum” among her legislative colleagues to address guns and that the shooting in Dayton has created a sense of urgency.

“The urgency of it, the absolute necessity of it has certainly been solidified in my own mind and heart by what’s happened in my community this past week,” she said. “Anyone who spends any time on 5th Street in the Oregon district right now comes away much more convicted that we need to do something and we need to do it now.”

rrouan@dispatch.com

@RickRouan