The Ohio chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after lawmakers today introduced SB 357, a bill that falls short of strengthening the state’s background check system, creating a robust extreme risk protection order law, or raising the age for purchasing firearms. The bill includes a potentially harmful re-defining of “terrorism” to exclude extremist acts committed by US citizens, which could undermine efforts to combat violent extremism, but also would make some strides to improve record reporting to NICS and support funding mental health services.
“If our lawmakers were serious about protecting Ohio communities, they would prioritize passing the strongest possible measures that will keep us safe from gun violence,” said Kristine Woodsworth, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “But with Ohio Republicans and Governor DeWine’s track record, we aren’t holding our breath. This bill is too little, too late – especially considering in just the last year, our lawmakers and Governor DeWine abandoned public safety and passed several dangerous bills that weakened gun safety measures and put Ohioans at risk.”
Earlier this year, Governor DeWine signed two bills into law that eliminated Ohio’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public and allows teachers to bring firearms into learning environments with minimal training despite widespread public opposition. Volunteers with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action advocated against both of these bills during the legislative session.
In an average year, 1,602 people die and 3,753 people are wounded by guns in Ohio. Gun violence costs Ohio $22.3 billion each year, of which $493.7 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Ohio here.