The Franklin County Commissioners are today calling on representatives in the United States Congress and the Ohio Legislature to proceed with urgency to enact common sense legislation to reduce the terrible toll that gun violence takes on our community and on communities across the state and nation. Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and the commissioners will be joining millions of other Americans in wearing orange to honor those lives lost to gun violence and also to demand a future in which Americans don’t have to worry about being shot at school, work, in church, or by a domestic partner. The Franklin County courthouse at 373 S. High St. will be one of many buildings in Central Ohio lit in orange this weekend.
The commissioners will vote on Tuesday to pass a resolution reaffirming their longstanding commitment to public safety throughout Franklin County and across the state and nation, and challenging members of Congress and the Ohio Legislature to work quickly to address both the causes and instruments of violence in America. The resolution notes that nearly 100 Americans are killed with guns each day, and that Ohio is sixth in the nation with more than 1,500 gun deaths each year. It urges the leaders in the Ohio General Assembly and the United States Congress to exercise their authority and fulfill their duty to work to create better protections for children, residents, schools, community institutions, places of worship, and victims of suicide and domestic violence.
“Far too many of us, including my own family, have experienced an unnecessary death at the hands of a shooter,” said Board of Commissioners President Kevin L. Boyce. “And I refuse to believe that we can’t have a positive effect on those numbers with common sense efforts to address poverty, addiction, mental health care, and the easy availability of firearms. If we as leaders, and the leaders in Congress and the Statehouse can’t take up this challenge to begin to curb these preventable deaths, we are failing our constituents.”
In 2017, there were 143 murder victims in the City of Columbus, 83% of whom were shot to death.
“We cannot accept inaction in the face of senseless gun violence," said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. "No child should fear for their safety at school, nor should a person feel unsafe in their own home. The presence of a gun in the home makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed by an abusive partner, and women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other developed nations. Common sense legislation is the very minimum that our constituents have the right to expect from their state and national leaders."
Ohio law does not allow counties to enact their own gun regulations.
“The balance between the right to keep and bear arms and the right to live in peace and safety has gotten out of whack in America,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “Amazingly, being on the no-fly list isn’t enough to stop you from legally buying a gun in this country, and even somebody who isn’t legally allowed to buy a gun still can because we don’t require universal background checks. We know that common sense tools like background checks are effective—they’ve stopped millions of potentially dangerous people from buying guns already, but they only work well if they apply to everyone in every case.”
The full text of the commissioners’ resolution can be found here
, and the resolution itself will be forwarded to the Franklin County delegation and leadership of the Ohio Legislature and both houses of congress.