Gun Safety

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The League of Women Voters works nationally and at the state and local level for regulation of guns. The proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons is a major health and safety threat to all of us, both in Ohio and nationally.

Position

The LWV of the United States' position is to protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons. The LWVUS supports regulation of firearms for consumer safety.

We have seen in Ohio and in the nation, a rise in the deadliness of mass shootings, both due to the clip size availability, and the lethality of the ammunition used.  We have seen the rise in the number and deadliness of school shootings. We have seen the rise of domestic terrorism against certain ethnic, religious, and racial groups where an AR-15 rifle has been used execution style against innocent people. 

 

During the early pandemic months of 2020, political pressures meant that Ohio gun stores stayed open as “essential businesses.” This gave rise to the largest sales of guns in Ohio and in the country since the FBI’s background check system for gun purchases (NICS data base) was brought online. Vulnerable communities, mostly poor and of color have paid the price.

 

As gun sales spiked in Ohio, so did gun deaths in all of Ohio’s major Cities, where murder by firearm increased by 27% - and is still rising.

 

The basis of LWVO positions in support of “common sense” gun legislation stems from the LWVUS position on Gun Control Adopted by 1990 Convention and amended by the 1994 and 1998 conventions:  Essentially it recognizes that the proliferation of hand-guns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens. 

 

Our positions under LWVUS and LWVO support strong regulatory measures to address who may buy, own, possess, manufacture and sell firearms; where and how those firearms may be carried; what type of firearms should be dis-allowed for the greater good of our citizenry; and to defend attacks on criminal and civil liabilities when careless and negligent actions lead to gun injury or death.

 

The League of Women Voters of Ohio has opposed legislation for the Carry of Concealed Handgun Licensing (CCW), by resolution adopted by delegate vote at the LWV Ohio State Convention in 2001. This resolution has been used to oppose the original CCW licensing law passed in 2004, subsequent legislation to liberalize CCW, and the preemption of home rule for municipal control police powers related to guns in 2006. 

 

LWVO works with Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) which has worked with several prominent national groups including Amnesty International, Giffords, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, March-For-Our Lives, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, States United Against Gun Violence, Community Justice Action Forum, and Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. 

 

This unprecedented national coalition worked to let legislators and Governor DeWine know that the country was watching Ohio on Stand Your Ground (2021), which was passed despite incredible opposition. The same happened with permitless carry (2022), allowing the ownership of weapons without a permit if you can legally buy guns.

We must now work to repeal this legislation. 

 

Focus

Comprehensive gun safety reform must include: 

(1) closing the gun show loophole, 

(2) providing universal background checks, 

(3) banning assault weapons and placing limits on high-capacity ammunition magazine size, (4) increasing penalties for straw purchases of guns, and 

(5) funding research and reporting on gun violence in America. 

 

Curbing gun violence is a critical matter of public safety and health to restore public confidence in our government’s ability to protect communities and vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people of color who are often targets of gun violence.

Action Steps to Prevent Gun Violence

Register and then vote gun violence prevention

  1. Contact your school board to oppose guns in schools

  2. If there is a gun in your home, store it unloaded & locked up

  3. Divest from guns – don’t spend with companies that support the gun industry – make sure your money isn’t funding gun violence

  4. Contact your national, state and local elected officials by phone, letter, or on their Facebook or Twitter page

  5. Check our website for legislative updates at https://ohioceasefire.org/legislation/

  6. Submit a letter to the editor about gun violence prevention

  7. Sign up for updates at ohioceasefire.org/signup

  8. Make a charitable donation to an organization that shares your values ohioceasefire.org/donate 

  9. Sponsor a voter registration day – resource www.lwvohio.org 

To learn more, visit Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence

 

The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, working to prevent gun violence through education, advocacy and public awareness. OCAGV is the state’s recognized resource on current information regarding gun violence and gun related legislation. We monitor current developments at the national and state levels and provide statewide education on non-violence and safety for children and families. OCAGV works with other organizations and individuals to facilitate community solutions and we support public health recognition of the gun violence problem.

 

Action Steps you can take. Link to page.

 

Read more about LWVUS and gun safety at the national level.