Words Ohioans for Gun Safety

Local gun safety group, Ohioans for Gun Safety is seeking to pass ballot initiative for common-sense background checks on gun sales in Ohio.

Ohioans for Gun Safety, a grassroots non-partisan advocacy group, is working to close the legal loopholes which allow for private sales of guns, particularly online and at gun shows, without background checks. There are many gun owners who strongly believe that such checks are necessary to reduce the amount of gun violence in our state.

“We are not against gun ownership,” says Marian Harris, one of the organizers. “We simply feel it is high time that common-sense background checks be put into place to reduce the number of gun sales to those who should not have access to them, such as convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers and those adjudicated mentally ill.”

Zach Sager, a gun owner himself, strongly supports the measure.

“Any reasonable gun owner wants this loophole closed. With owning a gun, be it a handgun, rifle or shotgun, comes responsibility and accountability. It is my belief that requiring all gun purchases, both public and private, to have oversight to ensure the purchaser is eligible to have one.”

Once the language of the ballot initiative is finalized, there will be a petition drive to obtain the required number of signatures. The goal is to place the proposed amendment on the November 2019 general election ballot.

A number of states already have a form of required background check laws on the books. Some, like North Carolina and New York require all guns purchased, be it through registered gun dealers, online or at gun shows to go through the process, while others such as Pennsylvania and Maryland stipulate only handgun purchases need go through that process. The approach by the Ohioans for Gun Safety advocates is to gather as much support as possible for the measure before it is placed on the ballot.

According to the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a total of 6.6 million guns were privately sold online and at gun shows in 2017. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia require additional background checks for such private sales. In those jurisdictions, there have been nearly 50 percent fewer suicides by guns and 38 percent fewer women shot to death by their domestic partners. In addition, there have been 39 percent fewer shootings of law enforcement personnel and a 64 percent drop in guns trafficked in those areas.

Presently, Ohio law only requires that all purchases via registered gun dealers be cleared through the federal background check system. It only takes a few minutes but has been effective in reducing the number of people from completing the purchase who are legally barred from doing so. However, there are no such protections when someone buys a gun online or at a gun show. This inconsistency in legal oversight results in people obtaining firearms who are not otherwise eligible.

Ohioans for Gun Safety welcomes volunteers to collect names at events and provide administrative support for the campaign. People are encouraged to show their support by signing up as Groundbreakers at our website,ohioansforgunsafety.com.  Organizational Groundbreakers include the League of Women Voters, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, National Council of Jewish Women and the Ohio Public Health Association.

“This is truly a grassroots effort, from the initial organizational structure, to the volunteers who spread the word and, to the individual voters whose ideas and thoughts will be considered as we comprise the actual ballot wording,” according to Harris. “It’s our state, our citizens, who are demanding that we do something to reduce the amount of crimes involving guns that are committed by people who should never have had them in the first place.”

For more information, check out the website, www.Ohioansforgunsafety.com. And like us on Facebook.

 

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