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What to Know About Gun Violence in Ohio Cities Before First Presidential Debate

September 29, 2020

Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will share the debate stage for the first time in Cleveland. 

Fox News host Chris Wallace, who will be moderating the debate, announced that the topic of “Race and Violence in our Cities” will be on the agenda tonight, playing into President Trump’s divisive and misleading fear mongering about gun violence in cities. 

If you would like to discuss the topic with Everytown national leaders, survivors of gun violence, or volunteers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected].

Like many U.S. cities where gun homicides and assaults are concentrated, Cleveland has seen an increase in gun violence in recent months. As you plan your coverage, here are the facts about gun violence in Cleveland and other cities.

COVID-19 has exacerbated the root causes of gun violence — not protests.

Republican leadership in Ohio has led to some of the weakest gun laws in the country, exacerbating gun violence across the state which kills nearly 1,500 people in Ohio a year.

  • Ohio has no law requiring background checks on all gun sales and no laws prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns. See how Ohio gun laws compare to other states here.
  • Despite promises to “do something” after the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio last year, state lawmakers have taken no action on background checks and red flag legislation – instead fast-tracking Stand Your Ground legislation and a bill to strip training requirements for armed teachers. Meanwhile, Governor Dewine continues to push toothless legislation in his calls to prevent this summer’s increased gun violence. 
  • President Trump has also repeatedly failed to take action on gun violence, while inciting violence against those protesting violence by police and siding with the NRA –– which gave more to his 2016 election efforts than any other outside group –– over the American people.

Local gun violence intervention groups have stepped up where Republican leadership has failed to save lives.

Across Ohio, Black people are hit hardest by gun violence.

  • Black people are 13 times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide, and Black children and teens are 5 times as likely as their white peers to die by guns.

In Cleveland, Black people are disproportionately impacted by violence by police.

  • According to Mapping Police Violence, Black residents make up 12% of the population of Ohio, but are disproportionately impacted by police use of force. Black people were 4.6 times as likely to be killed by police as white people in Ohio from 2013 to 2019.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]