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Statehouse Must Heed Ohioans' Calls for Common-Sense Firearm Legislation

By Hearcel F. Craig
November 7, 2023
The Democratic Standard

Throughout my time as an elected official representing the people of Columbus, I have spoken with constituents and met with advocacy groups about the effect of gun proliferation in our neighborhoods, the necessity of proper storage and safety procedures, and the impact that easy access to firearms has on suicide rates in Ohio.

Over the summer, I joined my colleagues from the Ohio House of Representatives and from Columbus City Hall on the steps of the Statehouse to once again emphasize the impact that gun-related violence has on our communities and families. 

In 2019, nine people were murdered in Dayton’s Oregon District. Four years later, I said “the question remains… what have we done?” Ohioans have called for our state’s leaders to ‘do something’ time and time again, and I am deeply concerned that my colleagues in the Legislature refuse to advance meaningful and common-sense gun legislation.

We must act. Ohioans will not stop demanding safer communities and freedom from fear of gun violence precisely because gun violence is not stopping. 

Just two short weeks ago, 19 people were killed and 13 others injured in Lewiston, Maine. Since then, 26 people have died and 155 were injured in 30 other mass shootings across the United States—and three of those happened in Ohio. I have not even begun to mention those who have been shot and injured or killed in non-mass shootings. Every single person killed had a name, a family, a dream, and a life to live that is now ended. Everyone who was injured now has to live with the aftermath being struck by a bullet, which can mean managing severe health outcomes for years.

Gun violence is a real threat to Ohioans, and the cost is far too high to ignore common-sense solutions. For example, I have introduced Senate Bill 78 to enable villages, towns, and cities to make the gun-related decisions that make most sense for their constituents. I have also introduced Senate Bill 164, which allows any Ohioan to voluntarily place themself on a federal do-not-sell/possess list if they feel at risk for suicide or for any other reason. 

I am working on more legislation, and I will never stop advocating for common-sense gun legislation, such as other bills currently pending in the Ohio House and Senate as well as the many others from previous General Assemblies. 

Let me be clear: there is a way to both respect the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and pass legislation that will have a meaningful effect on gun-related deaths in our state. I again urge my colleagues to heed Ohioans’ calls to do something.