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Deadly Shootings Prompt Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece to Introduce "John Crawford's Law"

Bill would help identify air guns, prevent deadly confrontations
November 23, 2014
Democrat Newsroom

In response to the fatal shootings of John Crawford III in a Dayton-area Walmart this summer and a 12 year-old-boy in Cleveland on Saturday, Ohio State Representative and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today announced she will soon introduce legislation to require all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent florescent strips.

The shooting of John Crawford III devastated many people in our community and left us looking for answers,” said Rep. Reece. “This bill is but one small step in addressing this tragedy and helping to prevent future deadly confrontations with someone who clearly presents little to no immediate threat or danger. With Saturday’s deadly shooting of a 12-year-old in Cleveland, it is becoming crystal clear that we need this law in Ohio.”

Saturday’s shooting took the life of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy when officers responded to a report of a juvenile with what was assumed to be a toy gun by the 911 caller. Officers instructed the boy to raise his hands, but he allegedly reached for the gun which was later identified as an airsoft, BB-gun type pistol.

On August 5, 2014, 22-year-old John Crawford III was shot and killed by law enforcement officers following reports that he was carrying a gun in a Walmart store. It was later discovered that Crawford was actually holding an air rifle for sale at the store.

“I fully support Ms. Reece in her efforts to pass legislation that would make imitation and actual firearms more easily distinguishable,” said John Crawford, Jr. “This legislation is necessary to make sure that a tragedy like the one that took my son John Crawford III’s life never happens again.”

Following the shooting of John Crawford III, Rep. Reece urged Attorney General Mike DeWine to release surveillance video of the incident to help restore the confidence of the African-American community in law enforcement. She also backed the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to further investigate the fatal shooting in hopes that their findings would bring greater transparency to the tragedy.

The bill was modeled after California Senate Bill 199, which was introduced by Senator Kevin de Leon in response to the fatal shooting of two teenagers by law enforcement officers who confused their toy guns for real guns.