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Dem lawmakers say last-minute hearings on gun safety "too little, too late" as gun violence continues to rise across Ohio

Say time to act is now to keep kids, communities safe
December 1, 2020
Adam C. Miller News

Democratic Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus), and Thomas West (D-Canton) today issued statements as their bills to enact commonsense gun safety finally came before the House State and Local Government Committee Tuesday. House Bills (HB) 319 and 320, part of legislative Democrats’ comprehensive gun safety package, were introduced over a year ago following the mass shooting in Dayton. HB 319 would restore local control of certain gun violence prevention efforts while HB 320 would prohibit the sale of a gun while a background check is pending.

“Instead of fighting the pandemic, working to create better paying jobs that can sustain Ohio families, or passing commonsense legislation to keep our kids and communities safe, Republican leadership continues to live in an alternate reality where doing nothing somehow makes all the problems go away. But the fact is that’s not the reality we live in. To control this virus, get people back to work and curb gun violence, we need a plan based in reality, in science, and in doing the things that work. The time for waiting is over. We need to act now,” said Rep. Miller.

Gun violence in Ohio is up in 2020, with a 27 percent increase in murder by firearms and a 17 percent increase in other violent crimes. Democrats have continually called for action to curb gun violence, and echoed that call during the committee hearings Tuesday.

“HBs 319 and 320 are commonsense, uncontroversial bills that will make us safer,” said Rep. West. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to take action on this issue now – not next month, not next year. Empowering our communities to make their own decisions and ensuring the completion of background checks are two simple steps we can take that will reduce gun violence.”

Though 90 percent of Ohioans favor gun safety measures, House Republicans have prioritized legislation opponents say will make Ohioans less safe, including the license to kill bill and legislation to eliminate the duty to notify law enforcement of a concealed weapon, which passed the House in June.

No further hearings have been scheduled on the bills. None of the Democratic gun safety bills introduced this General Assembly have been called for a committee vote.

Bills not passed by the end of the 133rd General Assembly on December 31 must be re-introduced as new proposals in the 134th General Assembly, which begins January 2021.